Abstract for HONS 03/01 - Computer Science and Software Engineering - University of Canterbury - New Zealand
HONS 03/01

Towards scalable interfaces using spatial cues for document management

Eddie Edwards
Department of Computer Science
University of Canterbury


Document management is an unavoidable task. Previous research evaluated the effect of building document management systems exploiting spatial memory. It was proven that spatial memory enhances retrieval tasks for systems dealing with a small number of data items. We investigate the effect of spatial cues with scalable systems. We present EDM (Enhanced Data Mountain), a scalable picture management system based on the Data Mountain by Robertson, Tesle, Tversky & Mullet (1991). Our system exploits the use of spatial cues and spatial memory in retrieving images. This report explains the design methodology behind EDM, in addition to an evaluation that compares EDM with Microsoft's My Pictures (MP) system for managing pictures. Results show that our subjects were faster at retrieving pictures in the display when using the MP interface, but not significantly so. As expected, the more time subjects spent browsing through the picture groups, the faster they became at retrieval. Subjective satisfaction rating showed an overall preference favouring the MP system over the EDM system. A conclusive statement can not be made regarding the exploitation of spatial memory in scalable systems.

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