Visual Analytics for Interactive Articles
Pure text has a low information bandwidth, and for this reason it is common that we combine text and images to communicate ideas. As the saying goes, "one picture is worth a thousand words". Text interlaced with images has been the standard format for both journalism and scientific publications for over a century. However, the current age presents us with a deluge of information that exposes the limitation of this format in engaging audiences and efficiently communicating ideas. It is hard to compete for people's attention against newer forms of digital media, such as videos, and specially ones that allow for interaction, such as video games. On top of that, the the background knowledge required to understand scientific ideas and new technologies increases fast as we are able to produce more and more research every year. Interactive articles are an interesting way to tackle this problem, allowing authors to create digital pieces to expose their ideas in a much more engaging and efficient way. Currently, however, they are cumbersome to produce and there is a lack of research on both the creative process and its impact. Visual Analytics as "the science of analytical reasoning facilitated by interactive interfaces" is in a privileged position to explore these research challenges.
The aim of the project is to explore current challenges in communication through interactive articles from a Visual Analytics perspective. Examples of research questions include:
- How can Visual Analytics design methodologies be adapted for interactive articles?
- How to develop Visual Analytics prototypes for interactive articles?
- How to use Visual Analytics to support data storytelling?
- How to communicate complex scientific and technological ideas using Visual Analytics and interactive articles?
- How to evaluate the impact of interactive articles?
Communicating with Interactive Articles by Hohman et al. contains a compelling introduction in the subject, while being an interactive article itself. The authors present interactive articles in the context of research dissemination, education, journalism, and public policy and decision making. There are dozens of examples to be explored in all of these domains.