HCIL-2004-33, CS-TR-4641, UMIACS-TR-2004-83
Making sense of information on computers is notoriously difficult because of limited size displays. Two interface techniques used to cope with these limitations are zooming and overview+detail. To evaluate these techniques, we ran a user study comparing a Zoomable User Interface (ZUI) and a folder-based overview+detail interface. The task used in the study required subjects to organize shapes into groups based on common visual properties. The study results showed 30% faster completion times with the ZUI than with folders. The ZUI's advantage most likely arose from its support for fast visual comparisons. Ultimately, we expect that these results can be extended to a range of problem solving tasks involving a variety of visual objects.