Designing Interactive Narrative Through Data Visualization

Visual Studies

Spring 2013

Derek Watkins, instructor

The web is a dynamic medium and recent technologies enable interactive visual narratives that are deeper and more intricate than ever before. Visual approaches are especially useful for understanding the vast amounts of data facing the modern world and communicating those understandings to a wide and diverse audience. Emerging from the overlaps between objective data, subjective art and storytelling, online narratives rooted in information visualization offer an accessible, engaging and powerful way for designers to relate their ideas to thousands of viewers.

This workshop explored the web as a visual medium for data‐based storytelling, using HTML, CSS, JavaScript and the increasingly popular D3 visualization framework. The course had two main goals: first, to provide grounding in the design of elegant and clear data visualizations; second, to provide a technical introduction to implementing data‐based narratives using D3 and web technologies. The output of this workshop for each student group was an online data‐based narrative that integrated interactive data visualizations with more traditional storytelling elements.