A Framework of Media Types for Data-driven Storytelling

Zhenpeng Zhao
05.19.2017 14:00 to 15:30
AVW 3258

Storytelling has long been proposed as a compelling mechanism for communicating the insights gained through visualization to a broader audience. The types of storytelling employed for narrative visualization so far has mostly been restricted to static infographics, pre-defined animations, or specific narrative points in a data presentation. This represents a very narrow view of the general concept of storytelling, informally defined as the narrative conveyance of connected events to an audience. In other words, storytelling for visualization has only scratched the surface of what is possible when applying narrative mechanisms to data.

Using visualization to disseminate information to a general audience invariably becomes an instance of storytelling: creating a narrative about the data. However, the use of storytelling in visualization has traditionally been restricted to standard digital media, such as blogs, slideshows, and dashboards. In the preliminary work, we widened the lens to study all manners of storytelling media that can be used for data-driven narratives. More specifically, we first explored existing media such as movies, comics, and infographics that have been used for this purpose. We then presented a framework of prominent media types and their applications to data-driven storytelling. Finally, we gave several examples of how such novel media types can be utilized for data narratives.

To better support our framework, we propose another application for data-driven storytelling with a long existing form of body language--gesture. Gestures were used to tell stories from long time ago, whereas modern technologies pushed the boundary of storytelling with gestures into a more powerful territory, where the augmented stage and background can significantly increase the ability of gesture perception and information rendering. Our new application is following the design guideline from previous studies of other storytelling media. A user study will be conducted to validate the level of acceptance and performance of the new application.

Examining Committee:

Chair: Dr. Niklas Elmqvist

Dept rep: Dr. Alan Sussman

Members: Dr. Ben Bederson

Dr. Hector Corrada Bravo

Dr. Matthias Zwicker