The Information Mural: Increasing Information Bandwidth in Visualizations

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Jerding, Dean Frederick
Stasko, John T.
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Information visualizations must allow users to browse information spaces and focus quickly on items of interest. Being able to see some representation of the entire information space provides an initial gestalt overview and gives context to support browsing and search tasks. However, the limited number of pixels on the screen constrain the information bandwidth and make it difficult to completely display large information spaces. The Information Mural is a two-dimensional, reduced representation of an entire information space that fits entirely within a display window or screen. The mural creates a miniature version of the information space using visual attributes such as grayscale shading, intensity, color, and pixel size, along with anti-aliased compression techniques. Information Murals can be used as stand-alone visualizations or in global navigational views. We have built several prototypes to demonstrate the use of Information Murals in visualization applications; subject matter for these views includes computer software, scientific data, text documents, and geographic information.
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