Monday, September 19, 2011

Reaction: A review of overview+detail, zooming, and focus+context interfaces

This article takes some of the interfaces described in "The Eyes Have It" and pairs them together to form dual interfaces that allow users to see details about large sets of data by manipulating the interface. The discussion about the human eyes in this article is perplexing. It is interesting that our viewing angle without head movement is incredibly large and most displays fit within this area, but it is still difficult to produce visualizations that allow the viewer to easily comprehend complex data.

The limitation of our viewing interpretations put into perspective the importance of interaction techniques suggested for implementation by "The Eyes Have It" and "Toward a Deeper Understanding of the Role of Interaction in Information Visualization." The authors also add that sometimes interaction techniques are used for applications that do not need them. I agree that interaction techniques should only be added if they improve the interface or visualization's functionality. Their example of the Mac OS X dock is a proper example to critique. While the "fish-eye" effect is visually appealing, it provides no additional functionality. In my experience, running into the issue of missing the target on the dock is not uncommon, but the visual appeal motivates me to keep the interaction technique enabled.