UW Interactive Data Lab
Visualizations authored with Vega-Lite. From left-to-right: layered line chart combining raw and average values, dual-axis layered bar and line chart, brushing and linking in a scatterplot matrix, layered cross-filtering, and an interactive index chart.
We present Vega-Lite, a high-level grammar that enables rapid specification of interactive data visualizations. Vega-Lite combines a traditional grammar of graphics, providing visual encoding rules and a composition algebra for layered and multi-view displays, with a novel grammar of interaction. Users specify interactive semantics by composing selections. In Vega-Lite, a selection is an abstraction that defines input event processing, points of interest, and a predicate function for inclusion testing. Selections parameterize visual encodings by serving as input data, defining scale extents, or by driving conditional logic. The Vega-Lite compiler automatically synthesizes requisite data flow and event handling logic, which users can override for further customization. In contrast to existing reactive specifications, Vega-Lite selections decompose an interaction design into concise, enumerable semantic units. We evaluate Vega-Lite through a range of examples, demonstrating succinct specification of both customized interaction methods and common techniques such as panning, zooming, and linked selection.

Software release expected in early 2017.
IEEE Trans. Visualization & Comp. Graphics (Proc. InfoVis), 2017