Introduction to interactive graphics

Interactive visual displays enable active participation of the audience, instead of passive, which can increase attention and perception. Through interactive visual displays, it is possible to personalise the information communicated, by allowing the audience to investigate various aspects of a problem that they are either interested in (such as personal risk or personal decision-making) or areas which are still unclear in the primary visuals. Interactive visuals can also be used to assist the uncertainty in benefit-risk assessment models, for example through sensitivity analysis in MCDA, and also to give the visual outlook of alternative hypothesised conditions (the "what if" questions) (see Bostrom 2008).

Dynamic visual displays can, as the interactive visuals, increase attention and perception of the audience (see Bostrom 2008), and is a strong tool in communicating changes over time such as the increase in risk with exposure time. Unlike when using interactive visual displays, users may not be able to control the visual outputs and typically not more than to start and stop the animation in dynamic visuals. In any capacity, most of the best data visualisations are either interactive or dynamic graphics. Although their applications for data analysis are increasing (see Buja 1996), their use to display results of analysis are still not common. Some dynamic, and also interactive, visual displays are available on the GapMinder website.