Visualization of Search Results: A Comparative Evaluation of Text, 2D, and 3D Interfaces

Posted: March 23rd, 2007 | No Comments »

Sebrechts, M. M., Cugini, J., Laskowski, S. J., Vasilakis, J., and Miller, M. S. Visualization of search results: A comparative evaluation of text, 2d, and 3d interfaces. In SIGIR (1999), pp. 3–10.

This paper reports on a controlled comparison of text, 2D, and 3D approaches to a set of fairly typical information seeking tasks on a small collection of 100 top ranked documents. The results of this study suggest that reduction of the user mental workload is dependent upon an appropriate mapping among the interface, the task, and the user. For example, there were high interface costs for the 3D visualization, although those costs decreased substantially with experience. In terms of performance, only under the right combination of task, user, and interface did 3D visualization result in performance comparable to functionally matched 2D and textual tools.

Relation to my thesis: I investigate ways to visualizing location information and try to understand the relevance of the emergence of 3D representations of the urban space (Google Earth Berlin, Barcelona 3D). We know how to build 3D model and we now have tools to deliver them, but then what…? Visualization techniques derives in a large part form their ability to reduce mental workload. Is it really the case for 3D visualizations of urban spaces? Therefore, what types of location information are more relevant in text, 2D or 3D. What tasks are better solved? What mental workload is necessary over time? This paper provides some answers in the domain of information search, highlighting the cost of 3D that then decreases substantially with the experience.