Stattgefunden am 22.03.2021, 20Uhr


Structure & Empathy in Visual Data Story­telling

Screenshot of Structure and Empathy in Visual Data Storytelling

A Case Study

Can journalists rely on the assumption that visual data storytelling increases memorability and engagement? How do audiences enact with visualizations? In an experiment Johannes Liem, Charles Perin and Jo Wood explore the effects of visual data stories on peoples attitudes. The eighth session of our journalistic reading circle @booksnpapers is dedicated to the recently published research Structure and Empathy in Visual Data Storytelling. As the paper is written in Englich, we switch the language of our discussion from German to English, as previously with Evoking Empathy or Enacting Solidarity with Marginalized Communities?.

We meet March 22nd, 8pm (CEST) on this page to discuss together.

What do we do?

On March 22nd, 2021, we meet at 8pm (CEST) online in this Etherpad and discuss together Structure and Empathy in Visual Data Storytelling. Evaluating their Influence on Attitude.

Togehter we want to ask each other the questions: What did we gain from reading this paper? What got stuck in your head? What did you particularly like? What bothered you? What did you learn for your own journalistic practice?

You can find our previous sessions in our archive (mostly in German). Have a look!

Add the session to your calendar and discuss with us! Or follow @booksnpapers on Twitter to stay up to date.

The paper

The abstract says: “In the visualization community, it is often assumed that visual data storytelling increases memorability and engagement, making it more effective at communicating information. However, many assumptions about the efficacy of storytelling in visualization lack empirical evaluation. Contributing to an emerging body of work, we study whether selected techniques commonly used in visual data storytelling influence people’s attitudes towards immigration. We compare (a) personal visual narratives designed to generate empathy; (b) structured visual narratives of aggregates of people; and (c) an exploratory visualization without narrative acting as a control condition. We conducted two crowdsourced between‐subject studies comparing the three conditions, each with 300 participants. To assess the differences in attitudes between conditions, we adopted established scales from the social sciences used in the European Social Survey (ESS). Although we found some differences between conditions, the effects on people’s attitudes are smaller than we expected. Our findings suggest that we need to be more careful when it comes to our expectations about the effects visual data storytelling can have on attitudes”


Structure and Empathy in Visual Data Storytelling got published in Computer Graphics Forum and is available online. If you have any problems with hitting a paywall, we recommend you to ask the authors or leave us a message.