We present Data Comics, a novel method for storytelling using sequential art---also known as comics---constructed from data-driven visualizations. This allows for building narratives using comic layouts of panels containing both snapshots and live visualizations. Each panel in a comic layout can be decorated with visual comic symbols---such as captions, speech and thought bubbles, directional arrows, and motion lines---to augment the narrative. To validate our method, we implemented a web-based Data Comics application that consists of (1) a Clipper for capturing data-driven content from the web, (2) a Decorator for creating panels and adding comic symbols, (3) a Composer for arranging clips into comic strips, and (4) a Presenter for viewing a finished comic. We compared the method to PowerPoint slideshows in a qualitative study, and found that participants found Data Comics more engaging, efficient, and enjoyable.
The HCIL has a long, rich history of transforming the experience people have with new technologies. From understanding user needs, to developing and evaluating these technologies, the lab's faculty, staff, and students have been leading the way in HCI research and teaching.