Elastic Documents

with Sriram Karthik Badam and Niklas Elmqvist

Today's data-rich documents are often complex datasets in themselves, consisting of information in different formats such as text, figures, and data tables. These additional media augment the textual narrative in the document. However, the static layout of a traditional for-print document often impedes deep understanding of its content because of the need to navigate to access content scattered throughout the text. In this paper, we seek to facilitate enhanced comprehension of such documents through a contextual visualization technique that couples text content with data tables contained in the document. We parse the text content and data tables, cross-link the components using a keyword-based matching algorithm, and generate on-demand visualizations based on the readerĂ­s current focus within a document. We evaluate this technique in a user study comparing our approach to a traditional reading experience. Results from our study show that (1) participants comprehend the content better with tighter coupling of text and data, (2) the contextual visualizations enable participants to develop better summaries that capture the main data-rich insights within the document, and (3) overall, our method enables participants to develop a more detailed understanding of the document content.


Elastic Documents: Coupling Text and Tables through Contextual Visualizations for Enhanced Document Reading
TVCG 2019 (IEEE InfoVis'18 Proceedings)