9.3 Interactivity: Theory & Concepts

  • interactive data visualization enables direct actions on a plot to change elements and link between multiple plots” (Swayne 1999) (Wikipedia)
  • Interactivity revolutionizes the way we work with data
  • Revolutionizes perception of data (cf. William S Cleveland and McGill 1984a)
  • Started ~last quarter of the 20th century, PRIM-9 (1974) (Friendly 2006, 23, see also Cleveland and McGill, 1988, Young et al. 2006)
  • We have come a long way… “evolution of animals” (2:20, 3:20, Tukey inventor of boxplot)
  • More history
  • Interactivity allows for…
  • Example: Check out the datablogs of various newspapers… data journalism!


Cleveland, William S, and Robert McGill. 1984a. “Graphical Perception: Theory, Experimentation, and Application to the Development of Graphical Methods.” Journal of the American Statistical Association 79 (387): 531–54.

Friendly, Michael. 2006. “A Brief History of Data Visualization.” In Handbook of Data Visualization, 15–56. Springer Handbooks Comp.statistics. Springer Berlin Heidelberg.

Swayne, Deborah. 1999. “Introduction to the Special Issue on Interactive Graphical Data Analysis: What Is Interaction?” Computational Statistics 14 (1): 1–6.