Revisiting Bertin Matrices: New Interactions for Crafting Tabular Visualizations

We present BERTIFIER, a web app for rapidly creating tabular visualizations from spreadsheets. BERTIFIER draws from Jacques Bertin's matrix analysis method, whose goal was to "simplify without destroying" by encoding cell values visually and grouping similar rows and columns. Although there were several attempts to bring this method to computers, no implementation exists today that is both exhaustive and accessible to a large audience. BERTIFIER remains faithful to Bertin's method while leveraging the power of today's interactive computers. Tables are formatted and manipulated through crossets, a new interaction technique for rapidly applying operations on rows and columns. We also introduce visual reordering, a semi-interactive reordering approach that lets users apply and tune automatic reordering algorithms in a WYSIWYG manner. Sessions with eight users from different backgrounds suggest that BERTIFIER has the potential to bring Bertin's method to a wider audience of both technical and non-technical users, and empower them with data analysis and communication tools that were so far only accessible to a handful of specialists.

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