SlopeSeeker: A Search Tool for Exploring a Dataset of Quantifiable Trends

Intelligent User Interfaces (IUI), March 18–21, 2024,

SlopeSeeker interface

Natural language and search interfaces intuitively facilitate data exploration and provide visualization responses to diverse analytical queries based on the underlying datasets. However, these interfaces often fail to interpret more complex analytical intents, such as discerning subtleties and quantifiable differences between terms like "bump" and "spike" in the context of COVID cases, for example. We address this gap by extending the capabilities of a data exploration search interface for interpreting semantic concepts in time series trends. We first create a comprehensive dataset of semantic concepts by mapping quantifiable univariate data trends such as slope and angle to crowdsourced, semantically meaningful trend labels. The dataset contains quantifiable properties that capture the slope-scalar effect of semantic modifiers like "sharply" and "gradually," as well as multi-line trends (e.g., "peak," "valley"). We demonstrate the utility of this dataset in SLOPESEEKER, a tool that supports natural language querying of quantifiable trends, such as "show me stocks that tanked in 2010." The tool incorporates novel scoring and ranking techniques based on semantic relevance and visual prominence to present relevant trend chart responses containing these semantic trend concepts. In addition, SLOPESEEKER provides a faceted search interface for users to navigate a semantic hierarchy of concepts from general trends (e.g., "increase") to more specific ones (e.g., "sharp increase"). A preliminary user evaluation of the tool demonstrates that the search interface supports greater expressivity of queries containing concepts that describe data trends. We identify potential future directions for leveraging our publicly available quantitative semantics dataset in other data domains and for novel visual analytics interfaces.


Alexander Bendeck, Dennis Bromley, Vidya Setlur

Tableau Author(s)

Dennis Bromley, Vidya Setlur