Transactional Panorama: A Conceptual Framework for User Perception in Analytical Visual Interfaces

Dixin Tang, Indranil Gupta, Alan Fekete, Aditya G. Parameswaran

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Many tools empower analysts and data scientists to consume analysis results in a visual interface. When the underlying data changes, these results need to be updated, but this update can take a long time—all while the user continues to explore the results. Tools can either (i) hide away results that haven’t been updated, hindering exploration; (ii) make the updated results immediately available to the user (on the same screen as old results), leading to confusion and incorrect insights; or (iii) present old—and therefore stale— results to the user during the update. To help users reason about these options and others, and make appropriate trade-offs, we introduce Transactional Panorama, a formal framework that adopts transactions to jointly model the system refreshing the analysis results and the user interacting with them. We introduce three key properties that are important for user perception in this context: visibility (allowing users to continuously explore results), consistency (ensuring that results presented are from the same version of the data), and monotonicity (making sure that results don’t “go back in time”). Within transactional panorama, we characterize all feasible property combinations, design new mechanisms (that we call lenses) for presenting analysis results to the user while preserving a given property combination, formally prove their relative orderings for various performance criteria, and discuss their use cases. We propose novel algorithms to preserve each property combination and efficiently present fresh analysis results. We implement our framework into a popular, open-source BI tool, illustrate the relative performance implications of different lenses, and demonstrate the benefits of the novel lenses and our optimizations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1494-1506
Number of pages13
JournalProceedings of the VLDB Endowment
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2023
Event49th International Conference on Very Large Data Bases, VLDB 2023 - Vancouver, Canada
Duration: Aug 28 2023Sep 1 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • General Computer Science


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