Visual Information Density Adjuster (VIDA)
Abstract: We introduce a system that helps users construct interactive visualizations with constant information density. This work is an extension of the DataSplash database visualization environment. DataSplash is a direct manipulation system in which users can construct and navigate visualizations. Objects' appearances change as users zoom closer to or further away from the visualization. Users specify graphically the point at which these changes occur.
Our experience with DataSplash indicates that users find it difficult to construct visualizations that display an appropriate amount of detail. In this paper, we introduce extensions to DataSplash based on the Principle of Constant Information Density. These extensions give users feedback about the density of visualizations as they create them.
We have performed an informal study of user navigation in applications with and without constant information density. Our results suggest that users avoid higher density displays in preference for lower density displays and that users pan more frequently in lower density displays. This implies that designers should take density into account when designing applications to avoid unexpected user navigation patterns.