Data browsing, history, and user experience

Data visualizations and browsers are usually organized around the problems users are trying to solve and tasks they wish to perform. More technically speaking, these require one or a combination of seven data-types: 1-, 2-, 3-dimensional data, temporal and multi-dimensional data, and tree and network data. The commons tasks a user might perform are overview, zoom, filter, details-on-demand, relate, history, and extracts.

Strengthen the quality of a user’s experience by keeping track of their actions.

Keep a history of actions to support undo, replay, and progressive refinement. It is rare that a single user action produces the desired outcome. Information exploration is inherently a process with many steps, so keeping the history of actions and allowing users to retrace their steps is important.

– Ben Shneiderman, The Eyes Have It

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