Balancing author and reader driven narrative structure in interactive data visualization

This study focuses on creating an interactive data visualization based on product safety annual reports
between 2005 to 2013 in Europe. It uses different story telling techniques in order to evaluate
more effective ways to present data. The goal of this study was to investigate the deeper levels of narrative
structures and find out the best practices when the author tends to send a specific message to the
user as well as give the user the opportunity to interact with the application freely and make personal conclusion.


Ubiquitously available information has increased dramatically and has led to the quest of dealing
with the threat of information overload. Understanding how humans process information and by what
means we can leverage our natural strengths in this area is a key success factor for anyone who has
something to communicate.Current state-of-the-art concepts that are analyzed and elaborated in detail
in this study include methods like telling stories based on data using narrative structures and interactivity.
Also interactive data visualizations play a relevant role in this field and promote information intake and
learning processes with the audience.The specific question of interest that was examined with a user study
is how different author- and reader-driven approaches influence how much information is understood
and remembered by the audience.Users that were directed to the main areas of interest by providing them
some questions upfront showed significantly better results in answering questions after the expo-sure to
data than less guided users. This insight can be used to create even better suited visualizations for
different purposes in the future.


The result of the study showed that the group, which started the author-driven part of the application
with the sets of questions, significantly per-formed better and had a better understanding compared to the
group which had the video as the introduction part.


Full version of the master thesis

Here is a movie that shows different slide shows of the web based application:


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