VITE: A visual interface supporting the direct manipulation of structured data using two-way mappings
Additional Document Info
Information processed by computers is frequently stored and organized for the computer's, rather than for the user's, convenience. For example, information stored in a database is normalized and indexed so computers can efficiently access, process, and retrieve it. However, it is not natural for people to manipulate such formal/prescriptive representations. Instead, people frequently sort items by rough notions of association or categorization. One natural organizational process has been found to center around manipulations of objects in spatial arrangements. Examples of this range from the organization of documents and other items on a regular office desktop to the use of 3 inches5 inches cards to organize a conference program. Using visual cues and spatial proximity, people change the categorizations of and relationships between objects. Without the help of indices or perfect memory people can still interpret, locate, and manipulate the information represented by the items and the higher-level visual structures they form. The VITE system presented here is an intuitive interface for people to manipulate information in their own way and at their own pace. VITE provides for configurable visualizations of structured data sets so users can design their own `perspectives' and a direct manipulation interface allowing editing of and manipulation on the structured data.