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North, C., Shneiderman, B. (October 1999)
Snap-Together Visualization: Evaluating Coordination Usage and Construction
Int'l Journal of Human-Computer Studies special issue on Empirical Studies of Information Visualization, Volume 53, 5 (November 2000), 715-739.
HCIL-99-26, CS-TR-4075, UMIACS-TR-99-68

Multiple coordinated visualizations enable users to rapidly explore complex information. However, users often need unforeseen combinations of coordinated visualizations. Snap-Together Visualization is a conceptual model, based on the relational model, and system to enable users to quickly coordinate otherwise-independent visualization tools. Users construct customized browsing environments with coordinations for selecting, navigating, and loading data, without programming. Evaluation revealed benefits, cognitive issues, and usability concerns with coordination concepts and the Snap system. Two user studies explore the value of coordination usage and the learnability of coordination construction. The overview and detail-view coordination improved user performance by 30-80%, depending on task. Data savvy users were very capable and thrilled to rapidly construct powerful coordinated visualizations.

Keywords: User interface, information visualization, multiple views, coordination, user study and usability.


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