Data Illustrator: Expressive Visualizations without Programming

Project Website


Data Illustrator: Augmenting Vector Design Tools with Lazy Data Binding for Expressive Visualization Authoring, CHI 2018
Zhicheng Liu, John Thompson, Alan Wilson, Mira Dontcheva, James Delorey, Sam Grigg, Bernard Kerr and John Stasko

Critical Reflections on Visualization Authoring Systems, InfoVis 2019
Arvind Satyanarayan, Bongshin Lee, Donghao Ren, Jeffrey Heer, John Stasko, John Thompson, Matthew Brehmer, and Zhicheng Liu


Building graphical user interfaces for visualization authoring is challenging as one must reconcile the tension between flexible graphics manipulation and procedural visualization generation based on a graphical grammar or declarative languages. To better support designers’ workflows and practices, we propose Data Illustrator, a novel visualization framework. In our approach, all visualizations are initially vector graphics; data binding is applied when necessary and only constrains interactive manipulation to that data bound property. The framework augments graphic design tools with new concepts and operators, and describes the structure and generation of a variety of visualizations. Based on the framework, we design and implement a visualization authoring system. The system extends interaction techniques in modern vector design tools for direct manipulation of visualization configurations and parameters.