UW Interactive Data Lab
Authoring Narrative Visualizations with Ellipsis alpha
Data visualization is now a popular medium for journalistic storytelling. However, current visualization tools either lack support for storytelling or require significant technical expertise. Informed by interviews with journalists, we introduce a model of storytelling abstractions that includes state-based scene structure, dynamic annotations and decoupled coordination of multiple visualization components. We instantiate our model in Ellipsis: a system that combines a domain-specific language (DSL) for storytelling with a graphical interface for story authoring. User interactions are automatically translated into statements in the Ellipsis DSL. By enabling storytelling without programming, the Ellipsis interface lowers the threshold for authoring narrative visualizations. We evaluate Ellipsis through example applications and user studies with award-winning journalists. Study participants find Ellipsis to be a valuable prototyping tool that can empower journalists in the creation of interactive narratives.
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Ellipsis is available as free and open source software. Try it out or fork it on GitHub.
Note: Ellipsis is currently alpha software, so beware of bugs! If you experience a bug, please file a bug report.
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We would love to hear how to improve Ellipsis, and see how it is used. Send us any feedback, or links and screenshots of stories built with Ellipsis!
Example Narrative Visualizations
These example narrative visualizations demonstrate how to construct stories in Ellipsis.
Budget Forecasts, Compared with Reality
Budget Forecasts, Compared with Reality
The New York Times, February, 2, 2010 »
Habemus Papam: We Have a Pope!
Habemus Papam: We Have a Pope!
CBC, March 13, 2013 »