Implicit Brushing and Target Snapping: Data Exploration and Sense-making on Large Displays


During grouping tasks for data exploration and sense-making, the criteria are normally not well-defined. When users are bringing together data objects thought to be similar in some way, implicit brushing continually detects for groups on the freeform workspace, analyzes the groups’ text content or metadata, and draws attention to related data by displaying visual hints and animation. This provides helpful tips for further grouping, group meaning refinement and structure discovery. The sense-making process is further enhanced by retrieving relevant information from a database or network during the brushing. Closely related to implicit brushing, target snapping provides a useful means to move a data object to one of its related groups on a large display. Natural dynamics and smooth animations also help to prevent distractions and allow users to concentrate on the grouping and thinking tasks. Two different prototype applications, note grouping for brainstorming and photo browsing, demonstrate the general applicability of the technique.