Document (#30217)

Author
Heo, M.
Hirtle, S.C.
Title
¬An empirical comparison of visualization tools to assist information retrieval on the Web
Source
Journal of the American Society for Information Science and technology. 52(2001) no.8, S.666-675
Year
2001
Abstract
The reader of a hypertext document in a web environment, if maximum use of the document is to be obtained, must visualize the overall structure of the paths through the document as well as the document space. Graphic visualization displays of this space, produced to assist in navigation, are classified into four groups, and Heo and Hirtle compare three of these classes as to their effectiveness. Distortion displays expand regions of interest while relatively diminishing the detail of the remaining regions. This technique will show both local detail and global structure. Zoom techniques use a series of increasingly focused displays of smaller and smaller areas, and can reduce cogitative overload, but do not provide an easy movement to other parts of the total space. Expanding outline displays use a tree structure to allow movement through a hierarchy of documents, but if the organization has a wide horizontal structure, or is not particularly hierarchical in nature such display can break down. Three dimensional layouts, which are not evaluated here, place objects by location in three space, providing more information and freedom. However, the space must be represented in two dimensions resulting in difficulty in visually judging depth, size and positioning. Ten students were assigned to each of eight groups composed of viewers of the three techniques and an unassisted control group using either a large (583 selected pages) or a small (50 selected pages) web space. Sets of 10 questions, which were designed to elicit the use of a visualization tool, were provided for each space. Accuracy and time spent were extracted from a log file. Users views were also surveyed after completion. ANOVA shows significant differences in accuracy and time based upon the visualization tool in use. A Tukey test shows zoom accuracy to be significantly less than expanding outline and zoom time to be significantly greater than both the outline and control groups. Size significantly affected accuracy and time, but had no interaction with tool type. While the expanding tool class out performed zoom and distortion, its performance was not significantly different from the control group.
Theme
Internet
Hypertext
Visualisierung

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