Project Universe – Making Zoom Semantically Rich

Project Universe – Making Zoom Semantically Rich

What is Semantic Zoom?

In contrast to ordinary graphical zoom, semantic zoom does not only change parameters of a graphical representation, but modifies the selection and structure of data to be displayed [1].

This is a perfect solution to the following scenario we model in the Project Universe:

  • When user wants to see a whole picture, she zooms out.
  • When user wants to dig into details, she zooms into the specific information entity shown on the screen.

See how this approach is used with the Tasks information entity: when you zoom in, you see the details – with data grid full of columns etc. But when you want to see the whole picture, you zoom out and you now see just the overview, which is, in the case of Tasks, a chart showing tasks completion status.

Consistency of Semantic Zoom

One of the design principles we use while building the Universe User Experience is consistency.

Consistency with Semantic Zoom in our case is applied in the following form:

  • To edit an object you have to zoom it
  • To see an object overview you have to zoom out

This is the rule for interaction with any information entity shown on the screen, be it a file, or tasks list, or text annotation, etc.

This rule is shown in action with Text Annotation “UI Mocks” shown in the video above: to edit contents, you need to zoom in enough to catch the transition.

References

  1. Semantic Zoom – definitions, InfoViz wiki
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