EmphasisChecker: A Tool for Guiding Chart and Caption Emphasis

Dae Hyun Kim, Seulgi Choi, Juho Kim, Vidya Setlur, Maneesh Agrawala

Room: 105

2023-10-24T22:48:00ZGMT-0600Change your timezone on the schedule page
Exemplar figure, described by caption below
The results of running EmphasisChecker at each stage of authoring a chart-caption pair about the real home price index between 1890 and 2006. (a) Prominent features are shown on top with a basic caption not describing any feature. (b) Caption text matches the most prominent visual feature (sharp rise at the end; blue). (c) Typo in the caption indicated by a red squiggly underline on ‘declined since 1984’. (d) Caption matching a less prominent feature, indicated by a blue squiggly underline on ‘declined since 1894’.
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Chart and text takeaways, visual prominence, authoring, captions


Recent work has shown that when both the chart and caption emphasize the same aspects of the data, readers tend to remember the doubly-emphasized features as takeaways; when there is a mismatch, readers rely on the chart to form takeaways and can miss information in the caption text. Through a survey of 280 chart-caption pairs in real-world sources (e.g., news media, poll reports, government reports, academic articles, and Tableau Public), we find that captions often do not emphasize the same information in practice, which could limit how effectively readers take away the authors’ intended messages. Motivated by the survey findings, we present EmphasisChecker, an interactive tool that highlights visually prominent chart features as well as the features emphasized by the caption text along with any mismatches in the emphasis. The tool implements a time-series prominent feature detector based on the Ramer-Douglas-Peucker algorithm and a text reference extractor that identifies time references and data descriptions in the caption and matches them with chart data. This information enables authors to compare features emphasized by these two modalities, quickly see mismatches, and make necessary revisions. A user study confirms that our tool is both useful and easy to use when authoring charts and captions.