PaperLens: Volumetric Information Space

While doing a quick survey of the ACM library today I noticed that my paper on Facet Folders received its first citation. I’m proud to pass that milestone.

In related news, I saw that Raimund Dachselt and his team (Raimund supervised my Master’s thesis) presented a great approach for visualizing volumetric datasets with their PaperLens prototype. Watching the video of their prototype really makes me miss working on projects which push the boundaries of current UI/interaction concepts:


Libre Graphics Meeting 2009 presentation of FacetZoom

The Libre Graphics Meeting 2009 about Free and Open Source graphics applications took place in Montreal at the beginning of May. I was happy to be invited to give a 10 minute lightning talk about FacetZoom.

A video of my presentation is now available online and you can also find a good summary of the entire meeting at

CHI conference concluded

Yesterday, the CHI conference came to a close. The closing plenary was held by Bill Buxton who received the CHI Lifetime Achievement Award this year. It is the highest award by the ACM in this field and recognizes outstanding contributions to CHI. In many ways, Bill Buxton really is an exceptional person with a very wide field of interests, from human-computer-interaction, over music (he holds a Bachelor of Music degree), to mountain and ice climbing and more.

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Facet Folders

Facet Folders are a novel way of managing personal data using a combination of conventional hierarchies with faceted metadata. I am presenting the concept as part of a submission to the Student Research Competition at CHI. Due to popular request and positive feedback, I am providing the paper here for download:

Facet Folders (PDF)

FacetZoom, first open source release

After two years of development, finally, the first public release of the FacetZoom widget source code. FacetZoom is a novel widget combining faceted browsing with zoomable user interfaces. It allows navigating hierarchies of faceted metadata, such as time or location, with two interaction concepts. By exploiting the widget’s space structuring nature, continuous data (e.g. stock quotes) or information collections (e.g. photo sets) can be arranged according to the metadata’s location in the widget.


The FacetZoom design was developed as part of graduate theses on User Interfaces for Personal Information and Media Management at the Heinz-Nixdorf-Chair of Multimedia Technology at the Dresden University of Technology in Germany. The work was supervised by Dr. Raimund Dachselt who is now at the Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg. Third member in the design team was Mathias Frisch, who is now a PhD student in Magdeburg.

At the beginning, the widget was called TimeZoom and implemented the concept of a zoomable timeline which was explored in my Bachelor’s thesis. After presenting this early version at the 2006 CHI conference in Montreal, the design was abstracted and generalized, thus leading to FacetZoom. The presentation we will be holding at this year’s CHI in Florence will officially introduce the results of this work.

The widget

Here are three screenshots of the FacetZoom widget showing a time metadata facet,

Time-based FacetZoom

a location metadata facet,

Location-based FacetZoom

and a classification metadata facet.

Classification-based FacetZoom

I’ve also created a short video-only screencast in OGM Theora format. In case you attend our talk at the CHI conference, a more in-depth video will be shown there.

Download the screencast

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Preparing for CHI

In one week, the ACM CHI conference starts again. I’ll be participating at the Student Research Competition so that means a lot of work to do in advance, such as creating a poster, a presentation and getting the prototypes ready. I am also working on the Qt C++ implementation of a novel widget called “FacetZoom” which will be officially presented at the conference, as well. Hopefully, the code will be ready for release by tomorrow so that I can put it up here before I leave for Italy.