ON THE EFFECTS OF VISUAL CUES IN COMPREHENDING DISTORTIONS
As the primary metaphor for computer use shifts from an extension of the personal desktop to a gateway into a vast information space, representing this expanse of information on our relatively small screens is becoming increasingly problematic. One possible solution for this screen real estate problem is to make multi-scale presentations by magnifying areas of interest and compressing others. The creation of these presentations makes use of some form of distortion. Distortion in turn changes the way in which information can accurately be read. In this paper we describe a study about relative difficulty in reading distortions. We investigate the effect of introducing viewing cues such as the cartographic grid and shading on people's ability to interpret distortions. We look at two interpretation issues: whether people can locate the region of magnification and whether people can read changes in degree of magnification of these regions. We present the findings of this study and a discussion of its results.