What Data Visualization Can Learn from Game Design:

Data without context has no meaning. Data needs a background, a narrative that sucks the user mentally into the world of the data. Narratives are fundamental in human reasoning and give humans the ability to assign meaning to their experiences (Laurillard 1998; Dickey 2006). Applications, whether games or data visualizations, have to incorporate a narrative in order to reach its full potential. According to Brown and Cairns (2004), it is the narrative that separates an engagement-application from an immersion-application. The more immersion the higher amounts of time, effort and attention an user will invest in the application. By integrating a narrative, or letting the data make up a story, the user will be much more invested, emotionally and mentally. The narrative functions as the motor.