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Exploring interactions with physically dynamic bar charts

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Abstract

Visualizations such as bar charts help users reason about data, but are mostly screen-based, rarely physical, and almost never physical and dynamic. This paper investigates the role of physically dynamic bar charts and evaluates new interactions for exploring and working with datasets rendered in dynamic physical form. To facilitate our exploration we constructed a 10x10 interactive bar chart and designed interactions that supported fundamental visualisation tasks, specifically; annotation, filtering, organization, and navigation. The interactions were evaluated in a user study with 17 participants. Our findings identify the preferred methods of working with the data for each task i.e. directly tapping rows to hide bars, highlight the strengths and limitations of working with physical data, and discuss the challenges of integrating the proposed interactions together into a larger data exploration system. In general, physical interactions were intuitive, informative, and enjoyable, paving the way for new explorations in physical data visualizations.