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Overview Use in Multiple Visual Information Resolution Interfaces
November/December 2007 (vol. 13 no. 6)
pp. 1278-1285
Tamara Munzner, IEEE Computer Society
Robert Kincaid, IEEE Computer Society
In interfaces that provide multiple visual information resolutions (VIR), low-VIR overviews typically sacrifice visual details for display capacity, with the assumption that users can select regions of interest to examine at higher VIRs. Designers can create low-VIRs based on multi-level structure inherent in the data, but have little guidance with single-level data. To better guide design tradeoff between display capacity and visual target perceivability, we looked at overview use in two multiple-VIR interfaces with high-VIR displays either embedded within, or separate from, the overviews. We studied two visual requirements for effective overview and found that participants would reliably use the low-VIR overviews only when the visual targets were simple and had small visual spans. Otherwise, at least 20% chose to use the high-VIR view exclusively. Surprisingly, neither of the multiple-VIR interfaces provided performance benefits when compared to using the high-VIR view alone. However, we did observe benefits in providing side-by-side comparisons for target matching. We conjecture that the high cognitive load of multiple-VIR interface interactions, whether real or perceived, is a more considerable barrier to their effective use than was previously considered.

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Index Terms:
Multiple resolutions, overview use, user study.
Citation:
Heidi Lam, Tamara Munzner, Robert Kincaid, "Overview Use in Multiple Visual Information Resolution Interfaces," IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, vol. 13, no. 6, pp. 1278-1285, Nov.-Dec. 2007, doi:10.1109/TVCG.2007.70583
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