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A Review of Overview+Detail, Zooming, and Focus+Context Interfaces

Andy Cockburn, Amy K. Karlson, and Benjamin B. Bederson


There are many interface schemes that allow users to work at, and move between, focused and contextual views of a data set. We review and categorise these schemes according to the interface mechanisms used to separate and blend views. The four approaches are overview+detail, which uses a spatial separation between focused and contextual views; zooming, which uses a temporal separation; focus+context, which minimizes the seam between views by displaying the focus within the context; and cue-based techniques which selectively highlight or suppress items within the information space. Critical features of these categories, and empirical evidence of their success, are discussed. The aim is to provide a succinct summary of the state-of-the-art, to illuminate successful and unsuccessful interface strategies, and to identify potentially fruitful areas for further work.


Publication typeArticle
Published inACM Computing Surveys
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc.
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