A study of the effects of narration on comprehension and memorability of visualisations

Humphrey O. Obie, Caslon Chua, Iman Avazpour, Mohamed Abdelrazek, John Grundy, Tomasz Bednarz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Information visualisation researchers have posited that author-driven narratives will allow information to be conveyed efficiently and argue for the adoption of storytelling techniques in information visualisation. However, limited work has been done to date to concretely examine the effects of author-driven narratives in users’ comprehension and memorability of visualisations, and their associated benefits and limitations in relation to interactive visualisations (devoid of author narratives). Recommendations for author-driven visualisation stories are largely based on anecdotal reports and/or research from journalism, and not on factual user studies in information visualisation. To investigate these issues, we carried out a confirmatory user study that compared purely author-driven narratives with interactive visualisations devoid of author narratives, in terms of comprehension and short-term and long-term memorability. We found that the presence of narration in author-driven stories significantly aided the understanding of information but had no significant effect on the long-term recall of information from visualisations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-124
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Computer Languages
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019


  • Comprehension
  • Experiment
  • Memorability
  • Presentation
  • Storytelling
  • Visualisation

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