Skip to main content
Log in

Visual narrative for data journalism based on user experience

  • Regular Paper
  • Published:
Journal of Visualization Aims and scope Submit manuscript


As data journalism continues to rise, narrative visualization has emerged as an essential method for conveying information. To improve the user experience of narrative visualization projects for data journalism, this study introduces an innovative approach for narrative visualization design centered on user experience. Firstly, through an in-depth analysis of existing research, we constructed a comprehensive user-experience-based narrative visualization model, considering the designers’ design process and the multiple levels of the user experience process. Then, through case analysis and user interviews, we identified the key elements that influence the user experience. Through the analysis of multiple cases, this study presents a practical narrative visualization design methodology comprising eight dimensions, aimed at enhancing user experience. The primary contribution of this research lies in the proposal of a practical narrative visualization model and the clear definition of key design elements, providing a comprehensive reference framework for designers and researchers to effectively optimize the user experience of narrative visualization. Moreover, our research findings unveil the inherent correlation between user experience and design elements, offering valuable insights for future research and practical applications.

Graphical Abstract

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2

Similar content being viewed by others


  • Al Jazeera Media Network 101 East, AJLabs (2021) This is Myanmar’s state of fear. Accessed 04 May 2023

  • Anderson CW, Bell E, Shirky C (2015) Post-industrial journalism: adapting to the present. Geopolit Hist Int Relat 7(2):32

    Google Scholar 

  • Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism (ARIJ) (2021) Lanes of death in east Cairo. Accessed 04 05 2023

  • Arjun S, Drucker Steven M, Alex E, John S (2018) Augmenting visualizations with interactive data facts to facilitate interpretation and communication. IEEE Trans Vis Comput Graph 25(1):672–681

    Google Scholar 

  • Bach B, Wang Z, Farinella M, Murray-Rust D, Henry Riche N (2018) Design patterns for data comics. In: Proceedings of the 2018 CHI conference on human factors in computing systems, pp 1–12

  • Borkin MA, Bylinskii Z, Kim NW, Bainbridge CM, Yeh CS, Borkin D, Pfister H, Oliva A (2015) Beyond memorability: visualization recognition and recall. IEEE Trans Vis Comput Graph 22(1):519–528

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bradshaw P (2011) The inverted pyramid of data journalism. Accessed 04 May 2023

  • Brooks D (2013) What data can’t do The New York Times, vol 2

  • Cai X, Zhu J (2010) Concerning the expression of visual elements in information visualization. Creativ Des 6:29–31

    Google Scholar 

  • Chen Q (2020) Research on the presentation of blockchain information based on cognitive experience. Master thesis, Hunan University of Technology, Zhuzhou, China

  • Chen Q, Cao S, Wang J, Cao N (2023) How does automation shape the process of narrative visualization: a survey of tools. IEEE Trans Vis Comput Graph.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Chu M, Tian S (2016) Research on the design methods of knowledge visualization. Sci Technol Vis 15:267–268

    Google Scholar 

  • Forlizzi J, Battarbee K (2004) Understanding experience in interactive systems. In: Proceedings of the 5th conference on Designing interactive systems: processes, practices, methods, and techniques, pp 261–268

  • Google (2014) Material design. Accessed 02 Mar 2023

  • Harrison L, Reinecke K, Chang R (2015) Infographic aesthetics: designing for the first impression. In Proceedings of the 33rd annual ACM conference on human factors in computing systems, pp 1187–1190

  • Hasan MT, Wolff A, Knutas A, Pässilä A, Kantola L (2022) Playing games through interactive data comics to explore water quality in a lake: a case study exploring the use of a data-driven storytelling method in co-design. In: CHI conference on human factors in computing systems extended abstracts, pp 1–7

  • Hassenzahl M, Tractinsky N (2006) User experience—a research agenda. Behav Inf Technol 25(2):91–97

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • HKYoyo (2020) Pagination versus infinite scroll. Accessed 24 Jun 2023

  • Hua P (2021) Metaphor in visualization: research on narrative information visualization design methods. Art Obs 03:168–169

    Google Scholar 

  • Hullman J, Drucker S, Riche NH, Lee B, Fisher D, Adar E (2013) A deeper understanding of sequence in narrative visualization. IEEE Trans Vis Comput Graph 19(12):2406–2415

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Jesse James Garrett (2022) The elements of user experience. MyNavi Publishing, Tokyo, Japan

  • Jiang Z, Wang W, Tan BCY, Jie Yu (2016) The determinants and impacts of aesthetics in users’ first interaction with websites. J Manag Inf Syst 33(1):229–259

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Jiang L, Wan L, Yan Yu (2017) Research on the user experience model in utilizing digital learning resources. Modern Educ Technol 27(03):85–92

    Google Scholar 

  • Kennedy H, Hill RL (2018) The feeling of numbers: emotions in everyday engagements with data and their visualisation. Sociology 52(4):830–848

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kloop (2020) I would have killed her anyway”. Kloop’s investigation of femicide in kyrgyzstan. Accessed 04 May 2023

  • Kosara R, Mackinlay J (2013) Storytelling: the next step for visualization. Computer 46(5):44–50

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lan X, Shi Y, Zhang Y, Cao N (2021) Smile or scowl? Looking at infographic design through the affective lens. IEEE Trans Vis Comput Graph 27(6):2796–2807

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lan X, Wu Y, Shi Y, Chen Q, Cao N (2022) Negative emotions, positive outcomes? Exploring the communication of negativity in serious data stories. In: Proceedings of the 2022 CHI conference on human factors in computing systems, pp 1–14

  • Lan X, Xu X, Cao N (2021) Understanding narrative linearity for telling expressive time-oriented stories. In: Proceedings of the 2021 CHI conference on human factors in computing systems, pp. 1–13

  • Lin H, Moritz D, Heer J (2020) Dziban: balancing agency and automation in visualization design via anchored recommendations. In: Proceedings of the 2020 CHI conference on human factors in computing systems, pp 1–12

  • Lu J, Liu Y, Zhang X, Zhang J, Huang Q, Meng L (2016) Data visualization model based on the user experience. Packag Eng 37(2):52–56

    Google Scholar 

  • Luo S, Zhu S, Sun S (2002) Human–computer interface design. China Machine Press, Beijing

    Google Scholar 

  • McKenna S, Henry Riche N, Lee B, Boy J, Meyer M (2017) Visual narrative flow: exploring factors shaping data visualization story reading experiences. Comput Graph Forum 36:377–387

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Munzner T (2009) A nested model for visualization design and validation. IEEE Trans Vis Comput Graph 15(6):921–928

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Na N (2018) Research on data visualisation winning works of the data journalism awards. Master’s thesis, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou, China

  • Norman DA (1988) The psychology of everyday things. Basic Books, New York

    Google Scholar 

  • Pointer (KRO-NCRV) (2020) Danish scam. Accessed 04 May 2023

  • Pointer (KRO-NCRV) (2021) The digital army. Accessed 04 May 2023

  • ProPublica The Palm Beach Post (2021) Black snow: Big sugar’s burning problem. Accessed 04 May 2023

  • Sacha D, Stoffel A, Stoffel F, Kwon BC, Ellis G, Keim DA (2014) Knowledge generation model for visual analytics. IEEE Trans Vis Comput Graph 20(12):1604–1613

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Saket B, Endert A, Stasko J (2016) Beyond usability and performance: a review of user experience-focused evaluations in visualization. In: Proceedings of the 6th workshop on beyond time and errors on novel evaluation methods for visualization, pp 133–142

  • Sallam S, Sakamoto Y, Leboe-McGowan J, Latulipe C, Irani P (2022) Towards design guidelines for effective health-related data videos: an empirical investigation of affect, personality, and video content. In: Proceedings of the 2022 CHI conference on human factors in computing systems, pp 1–22

  • Schmitt B (1999) Experiential marketing. J Market Manag 15(1–3):53–67

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Segel E, Heer J (2010) Narrative visualization: telling stories with data. IEEE Trans Vis Comput Graph 16(6):1139–1148

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Shihu X, Fang S (2011) Information visualization design based on visual thinking. Packag Eng 32(16):11–14

    Google Scholar 

  • Skelton CHAD (2014) How to crowd source a data journalism course. Media 1:21

    Google Scholar 

  • South China Morning Post (2020) Why your smartphone is causing you ‘text neck’ syndrome. Accessed 04 May 2023

  • The New York Times (2020) See how the world’s most polluted air compares with your city’s. Accessed 04 May 2023

  • The New York Times (2020) Who gets to breathe clean air in new Delhi? Accessed 04 May 2023

  • The New York Times (2021) What the 1921 Tulsa race massacre destroyed. Accessed 04 May 2023

  • Thudt A, Lee B, Choe EK, Carpendale S (2017) Expanding research methods for a realistic understanding of personal visualization. IEEE Comput Graph Appl 37(2):12–18

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Tong C, Roberts R, Borgo R, Walton S, Laramee RS, Wegba K, Aidong L, Wang Y, Huamin Q, Luo Q et al (2018) Storytelling and visualization: an extended survey. Information 9(3):65

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Tyagi A, Zhao J, Patel P, Khurana S, Klaus M (2021) User-centric semi-automated infographics authoring and recommendation. arXiv:2108.11914

  • Tynan C, McKechnie S (2009) Experience marketing: a review and reassessment. J Market Manag 25(5–6):501–517

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wang Y (2018) Research on data visualization design in smart city application scenarios. Master thesis, Shenyang Jianzhu University, Shenyang, China

  • Wang Z, Wang S, Farinella M, Murray-Rust D, Henry Riche N, Bach B (2019) Comparing effectiveness and engagement of data comics and infographics. In: Proceedings of the 2019 CHI conference on human factors in computing systems, pp 1–12

  • Wu B (2016) The research on designing user-oriented data visualization. Master’s thesis, Wuhan University of Technology, Wuhan, China

  • Yin H (2018) Research on information visualization design based on cognitive experience. Master thesis, China Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, China

  • Zhu G, Guo L, Yin G, Yongli X (2010) Map design and compilation. Wuhan University Press, Wuhan

    Google Scholar 

Download references


This work was supported in part by the NSFC 62002267, 62372327, 62072338, NSF Shanghai 23ZR1464700, Shanghai Education Development Foundation “Chen-Guang Project” (21CGA75), and China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (2023M732674). We would like to thank anonymous reviewers for their constructive feedback.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Qing Chen.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Springer Nature or its licensor (e.g. a society or other partner) holds exclusive rights to this article under a publishing agreement with the author(s) or other rightsholder(s); author self-archiving of the accepted manuscript version of this article is solely governed by the terms of such publishing agreement and applicable law.

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Cao, S., Chen, Q. & Cao, N. Visual narrative for data journalism based on user experience. J Vis (2024).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • DOI: