Animated Vega-Lite: Unifying Animation with a Grammar of Interactive Graphics [article]

Jonathan Zong, Josh Pollock, Dylan Wootton, Arvind Satyanarayan
2022 arXiv   pre-print
We present Animated Vega-Lite, a set of extensions to Vega-Lite that model animated visualizations as time-varying data queries. In contrast to alternate approaches for specifying animated visualizations, which prize a highly expressive design space, Animated Vega-Lite prioritizes unifying animation with the language's existing abstractions for static and interactive visualizations to enable authors to smoothly move between or combine these modalities. Thus, to compose animation with static
more » ... alizations, we represent time as an encoding channel. Time encodings map a data field to animation keyframes, providing a lightweight specification for animations without interaction. To compose animation and interaction, we also represent time as an event stream; Vega-Lite selections, which provide dynamic data queries, are now driven not only by input events but by timer ticks as well. We evaluate the expressiveness of our approach through a gallery of diverse examples that demonstrate coverage over taxonomies of both interaction and animation. We also critically reflect on the conceptual affordances and limitations of our contribution by interviewing five expert developers of existing animation grammars. These reflections highlight the key motivating role of in-the-wild examples, and identify three central tradeoffs: the language design process, the types of animated transitions supported, and how the systems model keyframes.
arXiv:2208.03869v2 fatcat:bhk3wuhvnzh7fgsxcmm7zrzwsi