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Quinta-feira, 21 de Outubro de 2010
Notes on "Narrative Visualization: Telling Stories with Data"

 

I'm stealing Tim's idea on publishing our Statistics class bibliography reviews/notes on the project blog. We were asked to study the impact of infographics and infovisualizations on social networking sites (luckily me). This one is a paper, "Narrative Visualization: Telling Stories with Data", from Edward Segel and Jeffrey Heer (from the Standford Visualization Group) and talks about narrative storytelling in visualization environments.

 

 

An emerging class of visualizations attempts to combine narratives with interactive graphics, as new genres of narrative visualization appear to popup: magazine style, annotated chart, partitioned poster, flow chart, comic strip, slide show, and videoAs visual media can be organized to engender a narrative experience, authors tend to manipulate a scene to direct attention to a point of interest (so called visual salience), just like in movies or newspapers (Segel and Heer 2010). Would it be applicable to custom visualizations on social networking sites too?

 

On one hand, the author assumes there’s no clear articulation between data visualization and storytelling, but on the other hand quotes Gershon and Page, as they seem to observe that stories communicate information in a psychologically-efficient format, which is also a central goal of visualization design. As Wojtkowski and Wojtkowski concluded, visual storytelling [...] might be of critical importance in providing intuitive and fast exploration of very large data resources. Actually, several visualization systems have begun to incorporate storytelling into their design (Segel and Heer 2010).

 

There’s a great storytelling potential in data visualization systems, specifically in social network environments: through interactive user-activity infographics, data flow visualizations, network data dashboards, and so on. Those visual systems would represent the user’s activity in a spatio-temporal timeline and would attach a new understanding to it. Though a thorough understanding of the design space for narrative visualization has yet to emerge, someday a whole new visualization paradigm could blossom out of this new approach to storytelling in social network visualization systems.

 

 

Reference

Segel, E. and J. Heer (2010). Narrative Visualization: Telling Stories with Data. IEEE Trans. Visualization & Comp. Graphics (Proc. InfoVis): 10.

 

 




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