Vega-Lite: A Grammar of Interactive Graphics

Arvind Satyanarayan, Dominik Moritz, Kanit Wongsuphasawat, Jeffrey Heer

Best Paper Award

Example visualizations authored with Vega-Lite. From left-to-right: layered line chart combining raw and average values, dual-axis layered bar and line chart, brushing and linking in a scatterplot matrix, layered cross-filtering, and an interactive index chart.

Abstract

We present Vega-Lite, a high-level grammar that enables rapid specification of interactive data visualizations. Vega-Lite combines a traditional grammar of graphics, providing visual encoding rules and a composition algebra for layered and multi-view displays, with a novel grammar of interaction. Users specify interactive semantics by composing selections. In Vega-Lite, a selection is an abstraction that defines input event processing, points of interest, and a predicate function for inclusion testing. Selections parameterize visual encodings by serving as input data, defining scale extents, or by driving conditional logic. The Vega-Lite compiler automatically synthesizes requisite data flow and event handling logic, which users can override for further customization. In contrast to existing reactive specifications, Vega-Lite selections decompose an interaction design into concise, enumerable semantic units. We evaluate Vega-Lite through a range of examples, demonstrating succinct specification of both customized interaction methods and common techniques such as panning, zooming, and linked selection.

Citation

Vega-Lite: A Grammar of Interactive Graphics

Arvind Satyanarayan, Dominik Moritz, Kanit Wongsuphasawat, Jeffrey Heer

IEEE Trans. Visualization & Comp. Graphics (Proc. InfoVis), 2017.

Bibtex

@article{2017-vega-lite,
 title = {{Vega-Lite: A Grammar of Interactive Graphics}},
 author = {Arvind Satyanarayan AND Dominik Moritz AND Kanit Wongsuphasawat AND Jeffrey Heer},
 journal = {IEEE Trans. Visualization \& Comp. Graphics (Proc. InfoVis)},
 year = {2017},
 url = {http://vis.csail.mit.edu/pubs/vega-lite}
}

Materials

Videos

Video Preview

InfoVis 2016 Talk

OpenVis 2017 Talk