Friday, September 16, 2011

Reaction: A review of Overview + Details, Zooming, and Focus + Context Interfaces

The paper starts with quite an interesting discussion on the span of view from the human and device perspective and tries to bridge the gaps between the two. It has correctly stated that traditional forms of displaying information use the concept of windowing and scrolling. This definitely creates a break in the cognitive abilities of the viewer. The viewer is either required to move / scroll through the data or even scale the sizes or visibility of data.

The paper however proposes to study the various levels and methods of detailing of information viewing by the users. In particular the paper discusses on following techniques: overview + detail, zoom, focus + contextual and cue. In each category, the authors have discussed in detail about the features, foundations and objectives. They have also compared the strengths and weaknesses of each category. The author has also provided illustrated examples while explaining each type of technique.

I found the discussion on the fish eye view quite interesting as it was being noted to be very impressive with its dynamic features. To support this discussion the authors have mentioned about the Mac OS and its document viewer software. I also liked the discussion on the cue techniques for highlighting Focal Objects. The chess board image which is used as an example illustrates the concept quite aptly.

As a conclusion note, I particularly liked that the authors did not favour any particular technique and have left an open – ended discussion there. They have also concluded well by describing each of the technique in depth.