What is the reader/viewer/user being asked to do?

In interactive infovisualizations, choices are made that direct or constrain what the reader/user/viewer can do and thereby direct interpretation. The action itself--exploring a scene, playing a game, searching for an answer, solving a puzzle, creating an artwork--is meaningful and conveys a perspective on the topic.

for example

Below are three examples of interactive visualizations of the news. Each asks for a different type of interaction.

10 x 10, developed by Jonathan Harris, presents images and keywords associated with top news stories, aggregated hourly and archived back to November 4, 2004.

An impractical but conceptually interesting approach to news visualization, DoodleBuzz, created by Brendan Daws, uses the metaphor and the activity of doodling to provide a way for users to visualize and read the news. After entering a search term, you doodle a shape that fills in with stories related to that term; you can select one of the stories on the doodle, draw another line, read an overview, access the full story, and/or start another doodle on a related term.

NewsBreaker is a news-based variation of the arcade game Breakout; you collect stories featured on MSNBC.com by bouncing a virtual ball off a virtual wall. You read only the stories that you catch, so ultimately what you read depends a bit on chance and a lot on how well you play the game. The interaction itself (that is, playing breakout) calls into question what the news is and why we should attend to it. The game-playing approach breaks down any sort of hierarchy in how the news is presented and instead suggests that the stories are all equally relevant and interesting.