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    Improving Focus and Context Awareness in Interactive Visualization of Time Lines

    People and Computers XXIV Games are a Serious Business

    Proceedings of HCI 2010
    The 24th British HCI Group Annual Conference
    University of Abertay, Dundee, UK

    6 - 10 September 2010


    Saturnino Luz and Masood Masoodian


    This paper presents an analysis and empirical evaluation of techniques developed to support focus and context awareness in tasks involving visualization of time lines. It focuses on time lines that display discrete events and their temporal relationships. The most common form of representation for such time lines is the Gantt chart. Although ubiquitous in event visualization and project planning applications, Gantt charts are inherently space-consuming, and suffer from shortcomings in providing focus and context awareness when a large number of tasks and events needs to be displayed. In an attempt to address this problem, we implemented and adapted a number of focus and context awareness techniques for an interactive task scheduling system in combination with the standard Gantt chart and an alternative space-filling mosaic approach to time line visualization.

    A controlled user trial compared user performance at interpreting representations of hierarchical task scheduling, assessing different methods across various conditions resulting from interactive explorations of the Gantt and the mosaic interfaces. Results suggested a number of possible improvements to these interactive visualization techniques. The implementation of some of these improvements is also presented and discussed.


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