Visception: An Interactive Visual Framework for Nested Visualization Design
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionComputers & graphics. 2020, 92, 13-27 10.1016/j.cag.2020.08.007
Nesting is the embedding of charts into the marks of another chart. Related to principles such as Tufte’s rule of utilizing micro/macro readings, nested visualizations have been employed to increase information density, providing compact representations of multi-dimensional and multi-typed data entities. Visual authoring tools are becoming increasingly prevalent, as they make visualization technology accessible to non-expert users such as data journalists, but existing frameworks provide no or only very limited functionality related to the creation of nested visualizations. In this paper, we present an interactive visual approach for the flexible generation of nested multilayer visualizations. Based on a hierarchical representation of nesting relationships coupled with a highly customizable mechanism for specifying data mappings, we contribute a flexible framework that enables defining and editing data-driven multi-level visualizations. As a demonstration of the viability of our framework, we contribute a visual builder for exploring, customizing and switching between different designs, along with example visualizations to demonstrate the range of expression. The resulting system allows for the generation of complex nested charts with a high degree of flexibility and fluidity using a drag and drop interface.