Data Navigator: An accessibility-centered data navigation toolkit

Picture of Lucas Nadolskis
Lucas Nadolskis
Published at VIS | Melbourne 2023
Teaser image

Data Navigator is a system for creating accessible, navigable data structures.


Making data visualizations accessible for people with disabilities remains a significant challenge in current practitioner efforts. Existing visualizations often lack an underlying navigable structure, fail to engage necessary input modalities, and rely heavily on visual-only rendering practices. These limitations exclude people with disabilities, especially users of assistive technologies. To address these challenges, we present Data Navigator: a system built on a dynamic graph structure, enabling developers to construct navigable lists, trees, graphs, and flows as well as spatial, diagrammatic, and geographic relations. Data Navigator supports a wide range of input modalities: screen reader, keyboard, speech, gesture detection, and even fabricated assistive devices. We present 3 case examples with Data Navigator, demonstrating we can provide accessible navigation structures on top of raster images, integrate with existing toolkits at scale, and rapidly develop novel prototypes. Data Navigator is a step towards making accessible data visualizations easier to design and implement.