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HCIL-95-12

Kumar, H., Plaisant, C., Shneiderman, B. (March 1995)
Browsing Hierarchical Data with Multi-Level Dynamic Queries and Pruning
International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, Volume 46, No. 1, 103-124 (January 1997).
HCIL-95-12, CS-TR-3474, CAR-TR-772, ISR-TR-95-53.

Users often must browse hierarchies with thousands of nodes in search of those that best match their information needs. The PDQ Tree-browser (Pruning with Dynamic Queries) visualization tool was specified, designed and developed for this purpose. This tool presents trees in two tightly-coupled views, one a detailed view and the other an overview. Users can use dynamic queries, a method for rapidly filtering data, to filter nodes at each level of the tree. The dynamic query panels are user-customizable. Subtrees of unselected nodes are pruned out, leading to compact views of relevant nodes. Usability testing of the PDQ Tree-browser, done with 8 subjects, helped assess strengths and identify possible improvements. The PDQ Tree-browser was used in Network Management (600 nodes) and UniversityFinder (1100 nodes) applications. A controlled experiment, with 24 subjects, showed that pruning significantly improved performance speed and subjective user satisfaction. Future research directions are suggested.


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