Vistribute: Distributing Interactive Visualizations in Dynamic Multi-Device Setups

Tom Horak, Andreas Mathisen, Clemens N. Klokmose, Raimund Dachselt, Niklas Elmqvist.
In: Proceedings of the ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. ACM, 616:1--616:13, 2019.
CHI '19 Conference Paper


We present Vistribute, a framework for the automatic distribution of visualizations and UI components across multiple heterogeneous devices. Our framework consists of three parts: (i) a design space considering properties and relationships of interactive visualizations, devices, and user preferences in multi-display environments; (ii) specific heuristics incorporating these dimensions for guiding the distribution for a given interface and device ensemble; and (iii) a web-based implementation instantiating these heuristics to automatically generate a distribution as well as providing interaction mechanisms for user-defined adaptations.

In contrast to existing UI distribution systems, we are able to infer all required information by analyzing the visualizations and devices without relying on additional input provided by users or programmers. In a qualitative study, we let experts create their own distributions and rate both other manual distributions and our automatic ones. We found that all distributions provided comparable quality, hence validating our framework.


In a hurry? We also have a 30-second preview video.

Blog Post

We have also published a blog post about Vistribute on Medium, explaining the main ideas for a general audience.

Source Code & Online Demo

The source code of the Vistribute prototype is publicly available on Github: An online demo can accessed on the Webstrates demo server; see the instructions in the Github repo for more details.

Project Page

Detailed information can also be found at our project page:


   author    = {Tom Horak and Andreas Mathisen and Clemens N. Klokmose and Raimund Dachselt and Niklas Elmqvist},
   title     = {Vistribute: Distributing Interactive Visualizations in Dynamic Multi-Device Setups},
   booktitle = {Proceedings of the ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems},
   series    = {CHI'19},
   year      = {2019},
   pages     = {616:1--616:13},
   location  = {Glasgow, Scotland, UK},
   doi       = {10.1145/3290605.3300846},
   publisher = {ACM},