Navigation patterns and usability of zoomable user interfaces with and without an overview

Kasper Hornbæk, Benjamin B. Bederson, Catherine Plaisant
2002 ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction  
The literature on information visualization establishes the usability of interfaces with an overview of the information space, but for zoomable user interfaces, results are mixed. We compare zoomable user interfaces with and without an overview to understand the navigation patterns and usability of these interfaces. Thirty-two subjects solved navigation and browsing tasks on two maps. We found no difference between interfaces in subjects' ability to solve tasks correctly. Eighty percent of the
more » ... ubjects preferred the interface with an overview, stating that it supported navigation and helped keep track of their position on the map. However, subjects were faster with the interface without an overview when using one of the two maps. We conjecture that this difference was due to the organization of that map in multiple levels, which rendered the overview unnecessary by providing richer navigation cues through semantic zooming. The combination of that map and the interface without an overview also improved subjects' recall of objects on the map. Subjects who switched between the overview and the detail windows used more time, suggesting that integration of overview and detail windows adds complexity and requires additional mental and motor effort.
doi:10.1145/586081.586086 fatcat:migqheoyjjdjjpg6blnqbpfjky