Uvis: A Formula-Based End-User Tool for Data Visualization

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IEEE Access


© 2013 IEEE. Existing approaches to data visualization are one of these two: accessible to end-user developers but limited in customizability, or inaccessible and expressive. For instance, commercial charting tools are easy to use, but support only predefined visualizations, while programmatic visualization tools support custom visualizations, but require advanced programming skills. We show that it is possible to combine the learnability of charting tools and the expressiveness of visualization tools. Uvis is an interactive visualization and user interface design tool that targets end-user developers with skills comparable to spreadsheet formulas. With Uvis, designers drag and drop visual objects, set visual properties to formulas, and see the result immediately. The formulas are declarative and similar to spreadsheet formulas. The formulas compute the property values and can refer to data from database, visual objects, and end-user input. To substantiate our claim, we compared Uvis with popular visualization tools. Further, we conducted usability studies that test the ability of designers to customize visualizations with our approach. Our results show that end-user developers can learn the basics of Uvis relatively fast.

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