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