At the end of 2012, comScore estimated there were 52.4 million tablet owners in the U.S.; Apple sold another 19.5 million iPads in the first three months of
At the end of 2012, comScore estimated there were 52.4 million tablet owners in the U.S.; Applesold another 19.5 million iPads in the first three months of 2013 alone. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that some companies, such as Roambi, Tableau, and Bloomberg are starting to offer mobile, touch-aware data visualization apps.
But dropping your desktop user interface onto a tablet doesn’t really take the best advantage of all of those touches and gestures now, does it?
here are plenty of open design questions to work out for touchable data visualization: How to make intuitive gestures that are easy to discover and remember, whether touch may have advantages in data storytelling interfaces, and how to blend gestures into more traditional UI designs, among others. And deep research questions are also waiting to be resolved. Petra Isenberg, a researcher at INRIA in France, published a paper on data visualization on interactive surfaces that stipulates some key questions: “[We] don’t fully understand how touching virtual data affects comprehension or memorability of information,” she writes.
So whether you’re a practitioner or a researcher, there is a lot to work on here. Not only will tablet usage continue to grow, but other opportunities for museum installations, kiosks, and large-format presentation systems offer plenty of use-contexts to explore data visualization that takes advantage of the full interaction bandwidth afforded by these new displays and devices