Browse Prior Art Database

A Navigation Aid for Graph Visualization Tools: The Minimap Apparatus

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000123034D
Original Publication Date: 1998-Apr-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Apr-04
Document File: 2 page(s) / 159K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Jacovi, M: AUTHOR [+5]

Abstract

Navigating within large graphs in graphical user interfaces is a difficult task since users often suffer from being "lost in the virtual space". Most applications require users to click and drag the mouse in some directions and users are never sure of what their start and end position are. We describe here a navigation aid that can be used in most large graph visualization interfaces, and describe one specific application, namely Web Site Maps.

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A Navigation Aid for Graph Visualization Tools: The Minimap Apparatus

      Navigating within large graphs in graphical user interfaces
is a difficult task since users often suffer from being "lost in the
virtual space".  Most applications require users to click and drag
the mouse in some directions and users are never sure of what their
start and  end position are.  We describe here a navigation aid that
can be used in most large graph visualization interfaces, and
describe one specific  application, namely Web Site Maps.

Site mapping tools on the World Wide Web, provide graphical aids to
visualize the structure of sites via "maps".  Maps can be classical
tree-control views familiar to PC users, or more advanced virtual
views in which users can navigate.  Navigation is usually performed
by dragging the mouse in the map so as to change the point of view.
Navigation in large maps presents the following major drawback:  The
mouse operations become overloaded as they must be used for
navigating as well as for performing operations.

To solve this problem, we have devised an apparatus that associates a
"minimap" with the actual map, that provides a control panel for
navigating within the global map so as to distinguish between mouse
operations: mouse operations in the minimap are reserved to
navigation, while those in the real map are for selecting, moving
nodes around, performing actions on nodes, etc.

      Background
  Browsing in large graphs is becoming more and more accessible to
computer novices through one particular kind of large graph
interface: Web Site Maps.  Site mapping has increasingly attracted
attention in the Web community, as evidenced by the appearance of
various new new tools.  Examples of commercial products are
NetCarta's WebMapper (recently acquired by Microsoft and renamed
"Site Analyst"), InContext's  WebAnalyzer, CLEARweb, Dynamic
Diagrams' MAPA, etc.  These tools provide  a more or less advanced
navigation paradigm in the map.  Thus, CLEARweb  and WebMapper
provide the usual tree-control view familiar to PC users  under
Windows or OS/2 that displays a tree (in that case the Web site as
identified by a crawler), as a straight hierarchy of folders that can
be open and close upon request.  More advanced views are provided by
MAPA, via 3D virtual-reality like naviga...