Q: Is it possible to create a scatter plot that is a pleasure to navigate on both a phone and a computer?
A: Yes, with some caveats.
Using D3.js, Zoom Behavior, and D3-tip, I’ve created a graph that works reasonably well on both a phone and a computer. Each point in the graph is a book from NPR’s Best Books of 2015. Clicking a point brings up a tooltip describing the book. The tooltip lists the book’s title, author, Amazon sales rank, number of pages, and provides a link to the book on Amazon. Clicking the point again closes the tooltip.
If I were designing this graph for use on a computer only, I would do things a bit differently. I would make the tooltips appear on mouseover events and disappear on mouseout events. Instead of having the link to the book’s Amazon page in the tooltip, I would make the point itself the link. I would also make the radius of each point a bit smaller. These changes would make navigating the graph much faster on a computer, but the reliance on mouseover events would make the graph unfriendly to mobile users.