One approach to visualization construction is to use complex blocks (widgets) that are tailored for specific visualizations, and customize the visualizations by setting the properties of the widgets. This approach allows fast and easy visualization construction but falls short if the user wants different appearance or behavior than what the widgets support. Another approach is to combine primitive graphical elements using traditional programming or visualization toolkits. Traditional programming allows high customizability, but it is time consuming and hard to develop advanced visualizations. Visualization toolkits allow easier visualization creation in some cases, but customization and interaction are tedious. As an alternative, we developed uVis visualization tool that uses spreadsheet-like formulas to connect building blocks. uVis formulas can refer to building blocks and database tables. We created several advanced visualizations, and compared our approach against others. Evaluation shows that our approach improved customizability.
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International Conference on Information Visualization Theory and Applications, 2012