Charticulator: Interactive Construction of Bespoke Chart Layouts

Donghao Ren, Bongshin Lee, Matthew Brehmer

IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics |

We present Charticulator, an interactive authoring tool that enables the creation of bespoke and reusable chart layouts. Charticulator is our response to most existing chart construction interfaces that require authors to choose from predefined chart layouts, thereby precluding the construction of novel charts. In contrast, Charticulator transforms a chart specification into mathematical layout constraints and automatically computes a set of layout attributes using a constraint-solving algorithm to realize the chart. It allows for the articulation of compound marks or glyphs as well as links between these glyphs, all without requiring any coding or knowledge of constraint satisfaction. Furthermore, thanks to the constraint-based layout approach, Charticulator can export chart designs into reusable templates that can be imported into other visualization tools. In addition to describing Charticulator’s conceptual framework and design, we present three forms of evaluation: a gallery to illustrate its expressiveness, a user study to verify its usability, and a click-count comparison between Charticulator and three existing tools. Finally, we discuss the limitations and potentials of Charticulator as well as directions for future research. Charticulator is available with its source code at https://charticulator.com.

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Charticulator

August 17, 2018

Charticulator is an interactive authoring tool that enables the creation of bespoke and reusable chart layouts. Most existing chart construction interfaces require authors to choose from predefined chart layouts, thereby precluding the construction of novel charts. In contrast, Charticulator transforms a chart specification into mathematical layout constraints and automatically computes a set of layout attributes using a constraint-solving algorithm to realize the chart. It allows for the articulation of novel layouts with expressive glyphs and links between these glyphs, without requiring any coding. Furthermore, thanks to the constraint-based layout approach, Charticulator can export chart designs into reusable templates that can be imported into other visualization tools.

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