This archive contains a collection of reports generated by the faculty and students of the Institute for Systems Research (ISR), a permanent, interdisciplinary research unit in the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland. ISR-based projects are conducted through partnerships with industry and government, bringing together faculty and students from multiple academic departments and colleges across the university.
Browsing Institute for Systems Research Technical Reports by Author "Ahlberg, Christopher"
Research has suggested that rapid, serial, visual presentation of text (RSVP) may be an effective way to scan and search through lists of text strings in search of words, names, etc. The Alphaslider widget employs RSVP as a method for rapidly scanning and searching lists or menus in a graphical user interface environment. The Alphaslider only uses an area less than 7 x 2.5 cm2. The tiny size of the Alphaslider allows it to be placed on a credit card, on a control panel for a VCR, or as a widget in a direct manipulation based database interface. an experiment was conducted with four Alphaslider designs which showed that novice Alphaslider users could locate one item in a list of 10,000 film titles in 24 seconds on average, an expert user in about 13 seconds.
This document describes five widgets that have been developed at the Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory of the University of Maryland. These widgets are: a range selection slider, a two- level alpha-slider, a secure switch, a tree viewer, and a treemap viewer. The last two use the same tree representation and can be used as alternate visualizations of the same hierarchy. In addition, a system for widget specification is introduced and each widget is specified using this system.
This paper offers new principles for visual information seeking (VIS). A key concept is to support browsing, which is distinguished from familiar query composition and information retrieval because of its emphasis on rapid filtering to reduce result sets, progressive refinement of search parameters, continuous reformulation of goals, and visual scanning to identify results. VIS principles developed include: dynamic query filters (query parameters are rapidly adjusted with sliders, buttons, maps, etc.), starfield displays (two- dimensional scatterplots to structure result sets and zooming to reduce clutter), and tight coupling (interrelating query components to preserve display invariants and support progressive refinement combined with an emphasis on using search output to foster search input). A FilmFinder prototype using movie database demonstrates these principles in a VIS environment.