Interactivity to the Rescue
As the news moved from print to digital media, dynamic, interactive content was seen as a key ingredient to higher reader engagement. Now after a few years of experience we learn that the “interactivity wherever possible” approach is not necessarily the way to go. Studies suggest that readers often do not notice, or do not care too much about hover/click/discover features inside graphics or charts—especially if the implementation is ragged. In this chapter I want to summarise the current research on interactivity—especially in the news context, to show what practitioners say about standards and the usefulness of interactives, and finally offer some rules of thumb for when and when not to use interactives.
- Aisch, G. (2016, September 13). Information+ Conference: Gregor Aisch [Video file]. Retrieved from https://vimeo.com/182590214.
- Aisch, G. (2017, March 31). In Defense of Interactive Graphics [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://www.vis4.net/blog/posts/in-defense-of-interactive-graphics/.
- Baur, D. (2017, March 13). The Death of Interactive Infographics? [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://medium.com/@dominikus/the-end-of-interactive-visualizations-52c585dcafcb.
- Bertini, E., & Stefaner, M. (Producers). (2017, July 17). Datastories 102: Understanding Comics and Visual Storytelling with Scott McCloud [Audio podcast]. Retrieved from http://datastori.es/102-comics-and-visual-storytelling-with-scott-mccloud.
- Boy, J., Detienne, F., & Fekete, J. D. (2015). Storytelling in Information Visualizations: Does It Engage Users to Explore Data? In Proceedings of the 33rd Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 1449–1458). New York, NY: ACM.Google Scholar
- Burmester, M., Mast, M., Tille, R., & Weber, W. (2010, July). How Users Perceive and Use Interactive Information Graphics: An Exploratory Study. In Information Visualisation (IV), 2010 14th International Conference (pp. 361–368). London: IEEE.Google Scholar
- Dada, J. (2016). Engaging to Explore? An Online Experiment to Investigate the Impact of Interactivity in Data Visualizations. Unpublished Master’s thesis, University of Oxford.Google Scholar
- Lorenz, M. (2010, June 29). Data-Driven Journalism: What Is There to Learn? (Stanford, June 2010) [Talk Slides]. Retrieved from https://www.slideshare.net/mirkolorenz/datadriven-journalism-what-is-there-to-learn.
- Luyckx, D. (2017, February 9). 3 Ways to Make Data Visualisations and Interactives Work on Mobile. Retrieved from https://www.journalism.co.uk/skills/3-ways-to-make-data-visualisations-and-interactives-work-on-mobile/s7/a699519/.
- McAthy, R. (2012, August 1). Visual Journalism: Advice on Building Interactives and Engaging the Audience. Retrieved from https://www.journalism.co.uk/news/tips-engage-the-audience-with-interactive-journalism/s2/a549988/.
- Milatz, M. (2013). Moving Graphics: The Effects of Interactive Infographics on Media Users’ Recall Accuracy. Unpublished master’s thesis.Google Scholar
- Miller, M. (2016, August 12). The “Bart and Lisa” Theory of Information Design. Retrieved from https://www.fastcodesign.com/3066148/the-bart-and-lisa-theory-of-information-design.
- Rogers, S., Cairo, A., & Daniels, M. (2017, March 31). News Lab Data Visualization Round Up: March 2017—With Special Guest, Matt Daniels [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UqLAxpumENs.
- Schwabish, J. (Producer). (2017, June 6). PolicyViz Episode #89: Priya Krishnakumar [Audio podcast]. Retrieved from https://policyviz.com/podcast/episode-89-priya-krishnakumar/.
- Tse, A. (2016, March 21). Why We Are Doing Fewer Interactives [talk slides]. Retrieved from https://github.com/archietse/malofiej-2016/blob/master/tse-malofiej-2016-slides.pdf.
- Zhao, L., & Huang, T. (2013). Experimental Research on the Effectiveness of Animated Instruction. In 3rd International Conference on Multimedia Technology (ICMT-13) (pp. 562–569). Amsterdam: Atlantis Press.Google Scholar