A pinboard by
Fereshteh Amini

PhD candidate and research assistant, University of Manitoba


I study data visualizations and solutions for communicating facts from data to a broad audience.

Telling stories with data typically through narrative visualizations is gaining increasing popularity in both practice and academia. Data videos are motion graphics that incorporate visualizations about facts. Their unique characteristics make them a great candidate for telling compelling data stories to a broad audience. However, very little is systematically recorded about what elements are featured in data videos, the processes used to create them and what features make data videos memorable. As a result, the solutions available to facilitate crafting these videos and taking advantage of their storytelling power are scarce and demand much needed attention from the research community. To this aim, in my research work, I have conducted several exploratory studies to understand data videos and their creation process. I have also designed, developed and evaluated data video authoring solutions to streamline the process of crafting data videos. To apply the resulting data video authoring solution, I use example applications in which effective communication of the analysis results to a broad audience is of significant importance.


A deeper understanding of sequence in narrative visualization.

Abstract: Conveying a narrative with visualizations often requires choosing an order in which to present visualizations. While evidence exists that narrative sequencing in traditional stories can affect comprehension and memory, little is known about how sequencing choices affect narrative visualization. We consider the forms and reactions to sequencing in narrative visualization presentations to provide a deeper understanding with a focus on linear, 'slideshow-style' presentations. We conduct a qualitative analysis of 42 professional narrative visualizations to gain empirical knowledge on the forms that structure and sequence take. Based on the results of this study we propose a graph-driven approach for automatically identifying effective sequences in a set of visualizations to be presented linearly. Our approach identifies possible transitions in a visualization set and prioritizes local (visualization-to-visualization) transitions based on an objective function that minimizes the cost of transitions from the audience perspective. We conduct two studies to validate this function. We also expand the approach with additional knowledge of user preferences for different types of local transitions and the effects of global sequencing strategies on memory, preference, and comprehension. Our results include a relative ranking of types of visualization transitions by the audience perspective and support for memory and subjective rating benefits of visualization sequences that use parallelism as a structural device. We discuss how these insights can guide the design of narrative visualization and systems that support optimization of visualization sequence.

Pub.: 21 Sep '13, Pinned: 30 Jun '17

Visualization rhetoric: framing effects in narrative visualization.

Abstract: Narrative visualizations combine conventions of communicative and exploratory information visualization to convey an intended story. We demonstrate visualization rhetoric as an analytical framework for understanding how design techniques that prioritize particular interpretations in visualizations that "tell a story" can significantly affect end-user interpretation. We draw a parallel between narrative visualization interpretation and evidence from framing studies in political messaging, decision-making, and literary studies. Devices for understanding the rhetorical nature of narrative information visualizations are presented, informed by the rigorous application of concepts from critical theory, semiotics, journalism, and political theory. We draw attention to how design tactics represent additions or omissions of information at various levels-the data, visual representation, textual annotations, and interactivity-and how visualizations denote and connote phenomena with reference to unstated viewing conventions and codes. Classes of rhetorical techniques identified via a systematic analysis of recent narrative visualizations are presented, and characterized according to their rhetorical contribution to the visualization. We describe how designers and researchers can benefit from the potentially positive aspects of visualization rhetoric in designing engaging, layered narrative visualizations and how our framework can shed light on how a visualization design prioritizes specific interpretations. We identify areas where future inquiry into visualization rhetoric can improve understanding of visualization interpretation.

Pub.: 29 Oct '11, Pinned: 30 Jun '17