We extend the popular brushing and linking technique by incorporating personal agency in the interaction. We map existing research related to brushing and linking into a design space that deconstructs the interaction technique into three components: source (what is being brushed), link (the expression of relationship between source and target), and target (what is revealed as related to the source). Using this design space, we created MyBrush, a unified interface that offers personal agency over brushing and linking by giving people the flexibility to configure the source, link, and target of multiple brushes. The results of three focus groups demonstrate that people with different backgrounds leveraged personal agency in different ways, including performing complex tasks and showing links explicitly. We reflect on these results, paving the way for future research on the role of personal agency in information visualization.


author={P. Koytek and C. Perin and J. Vermeulen and E. André and S. Carpendale},
journal={IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics},
title={MyBrush: Brushing and Linking with Personal Agency},
keywords={Brushes;Complexity theory;Data visualization;Image color analysis;Joining processes;Shape;Visualization;Brushing;coordinated multiple views;design space;information visualization;interaction;linking;personal agency},

Video explaining how to use MyBrush

5 minutes walkthrough and examples

30 seconds video preview


Philipp Koytek
Philipp just finished his master's degree in the Software Engineering elite graduate program of the University of Augsburg. Previously, he did his bachelor's degree in Media Informatics with focus on Human-Computer Interaction at the LMU in Munich. He is passionate about nicely designed interactive technologies and visualizations and loves to create great user experiences.

Charles Perin
Charles is a lecturer in the Department of Computer Science at City, University of London, and part of the giCentre research group. He is a computer scientist specializing in information visualization and human computer interaction. He is particularly interested in designing and studying new interactions for visualizations; in understanding how people may make use of and interact with visualizations in their everyday lives; and in sports visualization.

Jo Vermeulen
Jo is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science at Aarhus University. Previously, he was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the InnoVis group at the Interactions Lab at the University of Calgary. Jo's research interests lie at the intersection of Human–Computer Interaction, Ubiquitous Computing and Information Visualization. His research focuses particularly on addressing interaction challenges with non-traditional interactive technology.

Elisabeth André
Elisabeth is a full professor of Computer Science and Founding Chair of Human-Centered Multimedia at Augsburg University in Germany. She has a long track record in multimodal human-machine interaction, embodied conversational agents, social robotics, affective computing and social signal processing. In 2017, she was elected to the prestigious CHI Academy, an honorary group of leaders in the field of human-computer interaction.

Sheelagh Carpendale
Sheelagh is a Professor at the University of Calgary where she holds a Canada Research Chair: Information Visualization and an NSERC/iCORE/SMART Industrial Research Chair: Interactive Technologies. She directs the Innovations in Visualization (InnoVis) research group and her research focuses on information visualization, collaborative visualization, and large interactive displays.

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