Theses Doctoral

Personalized Navigation Instruments for Map User Interfaces

Miau, Daniel

A map is a big multi-scale information space. The size of a computer display, however, is limited. Users of digital maps often need to repeatedly resize and reposition the map to seek information. These repeated and excess interactions mar the user experience, and create bottlenecks for efficient information processing.
We introduce personalized navigation instruments, a class of navigation instruments that leverage personal important spatial entities (e.g., landmarks and routes) to tackle navigation challenges in map user interfaces. Specifically, we contribute the following three instruments, each of which embodies a novel research idea: 1) Personalized Compass (P-Compass) is a multi-needle compass that extends the concept of a conventional compass to help users establish a reference frame. P-Compass localizes an unknown reference point by visualizing its relationship with respect to landmarks. P-Compass leverages what a user knows to help them figure out what they do not know. 2) SpaceTokens are interactive map widgets that represent locations, and help users see and link locations rapidly. With SpaceTokens, users can use locations directly as controls to manipulate a map, or building blocks to link with other locations. SpaceTokens make locations first-class citizens of map interaction. 3) SpaceBar associates a simple linear scrollbar with a complex nonlinear route, thus facilitates efficient route comprehension and interaction. SpaceBar is akin to a scrollbar for a route.
We prototyped these three instruments in a custom smartphone application, used the application regularly in daily life, and validated our design in two formal studies. While maps are the focus in this dissertation, our ideas need not be limited to maps. For example, we have prototyped P-Compass with Google Street View and a 3D virtual earth tour application. We conclude this dissertation with several directions for future work, such as AR/VR and personalized spatial information user interfaces involving sound, gestures, and speech.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Computer Science
Thesis Advisors
Feiner, Steven K.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
March 16, 2018