Content-Driven Layout for Visualization Design


Multi-view visualizations are typically presented in a grid layout with elements positioned according to their bounding rectangles. These rectangles often contain unused white space. In cases where Tufte’s Shrink Principle can be applied to reduce non-data-ink without impairing the communication of information, unused white space can be utilized for the placement of other elements. This is often done in manually “hand-crafted” layouts by designers. However, upon changes to individual elements, this design process has to be repeated. To reduce non-data-ink and repetitive manual design, we contribute a method for automatically turning a grid layout into a content-driven layout, where elements are positioned with respect to their contents. Existing approaches have explored the use of a force simulation in conjunction with proxy geometries to simplify collision handling for irregular shapes. Such customized force directed layouts are usually unstable, and often require additional constraints to run properly. In addition, proxy geometries become less accurate and effective with more irregular shapes. To solve these shortcomings, we contribute an approach for identifying central elements in an original grid layout in order to set up corresponding attractive forces. Furthermore, we utilize an imagebased approach for collision detection and avoidance that works accurately for highly irregular shapes. We demonstrate the utility of our approach with three case studies.

Proceedings of the International Symposium on Visual Information Communication and Interaction (to appear)