Plots in our systems are more than just static displays of data; they form a live user interface to data being explored. This unique property of our plots lends itself easily to an overarching principle which our systems run on. Users of our systems follow a universal series of steps (with slight variation) to analyze their data. They begin by launching a tool which generates a plot. They then inspect that plot for interesting patterns or outliers, and paint such observations to select them. Finally, they siphon the selections out and loop back to launching a tool to examine the selected observations again. We commonly refer to this process by the acronym-mnemonic (for lack of a better term) "LIPS loop" (Launch-Inspect-Paint-Siphon loop).

In addition to painting, our systems also support many other ways to retrieve data from plots by taking advantage of existing patterns in plots.