Datamator: An Intelligent Authoring Tool for Creating Datamations via Data Query Decomposition

by   Yi Guo, et al.

Datamation is designed to animate an analysis pipeline step by step, which is an intuitive and effective way to interpret the results from data analysis. However, creating a datamation is not easy. A qualified datamation needs to not only provide a correct analysis result but also ensure that the data flow and animation are coherent. Existing animation authoring tools focus on either leveraging algorithms to automatically generate an animation based on user-provided charts or building graphical user interfaces to provide a programming-free authoring environment for users. None of them are able to help users translate an analysis task into a series of data operations to form an analysis pipeline and visualize them as a datamation. To fill this gap, we introduce Datamator, an intelligent authoring tool developed to support datamation design and generation. It leverages a novel data query decomposition model to allow users to generate an initial datamation by simply inputting a data query in natural language. The initial datamation can be refined via rich interactions and a feedback mechanism is utilized to update the decomposition model based on user knowledge and preferences. Our system produces an animated sequence of visualizations driven by a set of low-level data actions. It supports unit visualizations, which provide a mapping from each data item to a unique visual mark. We demonstrate the effectiveness of Datamator via a series of evaluations including case studies, performance validation, and a controlled user study.


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