Summary: Graphical Histories for Visualization: Supporting Analysis,
Communication, and Evaluation
Jeffrey Heer, Jock D. Mackinlay, Chris Stolte, and Maneesh Agrawala
Abstract--Interactive history tools, ranging from basic undo and redo to branching timelines of user actions, facilitate iterative
forms of interaction. In this paper, we investigate the design of history mechanisms for information visualization. We present a
design space analysis of both architectural and interface issues, identifying design decisions and associated trade-offs. Based on
this analysis, we contribute a design study of graphical history tools for Tableau, a database visualization system. These tools
record and visualize interaction histories, support data analysis and communication of findings, and contribute novel mechanisms
for presenting, managing, and exporting histories. Furthermore, we have analyzed aggregated collections of history sessions to
evaluate Tableau usage. We describe additional tools for analyzing users' history logs and how they have been applied to study
usage patterns in Tableau.
Index Terms--Visualization, history, undo, analysis, presentation, evaluation.
When investigating data with visualizations, users regularly traverse
the space of views in an iterative fashion. Exploratory analysis may
result in a number of hypotheses, leading to multiple rounds of
question-answering. Analysts can generate unexpected questions that
may be investigated immediately or revisited later. After conducting
analysis, users may need to review, summarize, and communicate
their findings, often in the form of reports or presentations.