Building An Interactive Infographic With Vue.js

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Krutie is technical business analyst and a front-end consultant with expertise in Vue.js and Nuxt.js, alongside back-end proficiency in Laravel. She has an … More about Krutie ↬

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Have you ever had a requirement in which you had to design and build an interactive web experience but the grid system fell short? Furthermore, the design elements turned into unusual shapes that just wouldn’t fit into the regular web layouts? In this article, Krutie Patel is going to build an interactive infographic using Vue.js, SVG and GreenSock by using dynamic data and unusual layout.

This article presents a modern approach to building an interactive infographic. You sure can have plain infographic with all the information available upfront — without any user interaction. But, thinking of building an interactive experience — changes the technology landscape we choose. Therefore, let’s understand first, why Vue.js? And you’ll see why GSAP (GreenSock Animation Platform) and SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) become obvious choices.

Vue.js provides practical ways to build component-based, dynamic user interfaces where you can manipulate and manage DOM elements in powerful ways. In this instance, it’s going to be SVG. You can easily update and manage different SVG elements — dynamically — using only a small subset of features available in Vue.js — some of the staple features that fit the bill here, are, data binding, list rendering, dynamic class binding to name a few. This also allows you to group relevant SVG elements together, and componentize them.

Vue.js plays nice with external libraries without losing its glory, that is GSAP here. There are many other benefits of using Vue.js, one of which is that, Vue.js allows you to isolate related templates, scripts, and styles for each component. This way, Vue.js promotes modular application structure.

Recommended reading: Replacing jQuery With Vue.js: No Build Step Necessary

Vue.js also comes packaged with powerful lifecycle hooks that let you tap into the different stages of application to modify application behavior. Setting up and maintaining Vue.js applications doesn’t require a big commitment, meaning you can take phased-approach to scale your project as you go.

The infographic is very light-weight in a visual sense, as the main aim of this article is to learn how to think in terms of data, visual elements, and of course, Vue.js — the framework that makes all the interactivity possible. In addition, we’ll use GreenSock, a library for animating SVG elements. Before we dive in, take a look at the demo.

We’ll start with:

  1. The overview of the data for infographic;
  2. SVG image preparation;
  3. An overview of Vue components in context of the SVG artwork;
  4. Code samples and diagrams of key interactivity.

The infographic that we’re going to build is about Tour De France, the annual bicycle racing event held in France.

Build an interactive infographic with Vue.js, SVG and GreenSock
Tour De France  —  Interactive bicycle listing game stages (rear-wheel) and participating teams (front-wheel). (Large preview)

Overview Of Tour De France Data

In infographic design, data drives the design of your infographic. Therefore, while planning your infographic design, it’s always a good idea to have all data, information, and statistics available for the given subject matter.

During Tour De France of 2017, I learned everything about this biggest cycling event that I could in 21 days of the game in July, and I familiarized myself with the subject.

Basic entities of the race that I decided to go for in my design are,

  • Stages,
  • Teams,
  • Routes,
  • Winners,
  • Length and classifications of each routes.

This next part of the process depends on your thinking style, so you can be creative here.

I created two sets of data, one for stages and other for teams. These two datasets have multiple rows of data (but within limit)  —  which matched with two wheels of the bicycle with multiple spokes in each. And that defined the key element of the design, The Bicycle Art that you saw at the beginning  —  where each spoke will be interactive & responsible to drive what information is revealed on screen.

I mentioned within limits above, because what we’re aiming for in this instance is not a full-blown data-visualization in context of big data but rather an infographic with high-level data.

Therefore, spend quality time with data and look for similarities, differences, hierarchy or trends that can help you convey a visual story. And don’t forget about the amazing combination of SVG and Vue.js while you’re at it, as it will help you bring about the right balance between information (data), interactivity (Vue.js) and design elements (SVG Artwork) of infographic.

Here’s the snippet of a stage data object:

    "ID": 1,
    "NAME": "STAGE 01",
    "DISTANCE": "14",
    "WINNER": "THOMAS G.",
    "UCI_CODE": "SKY",
    "TYPE": "Individual Time Trial",
    "DATE": "Saturday July 1st",
    "KEY_MOMENT": " Geraint Thomas takes his first win at 32"

And team data object snippet as below:

    "ID": 1,
    "UCI_CODE": "SKY",
    "NAME": " TEAM SKY",
    "COUNTRY": "Great Britain",
    "RIDERS": 8

This infographic is operated by a very simple logic.

UCI_CODE (Union Cycliste Internationale) is the connecting key between the stage and the team object. When a stage is clicked, first we’ll activate that stage, but also use UCI_CODE key to activate corresponding winning team.

SVG Preparation

Having a couple of datasets and a rough concept of bicycle art ready, here’s the static SVG CodePen of the infographic I came up with.

See the Pen Static Bicycle SVG by Krutie(@krutie) on CodePen.

See the Pen Static Bicycle SVG by Krutie(@krutie) on CodePen.

We have created only one spoke for each wheel, that is because we’ll dynamically create rest of the spokes using a number of records found in the dataset, and animate them using GreenSock Library.

The workflow to create this SVG code is also very simple. Create your Infographic artwork in Adobe Illustrator and save as SVG. Make sure to name each group and layer while working in Illustrator, because you will need those ids to separate parts of SVG code that will eventually populate `