User Control Implementations In Image Browsers

The uses of computer technology over the past 15 years have increasingly dealt withthe collection, archival and dissemination of databases consisting of graphic information such as images, photographs, and virtually anything that can be represented in the 2D plane. Image browsers are usedas an interface to manipulating and retrieving data in a given image database.For very large image databases consisting of thousands of images, novel search/query methods suchas query by sketch have been proposed. However, such methods currently are impractical and the userwill always reach a point where visual inspection of a set of images is necessary. For some applications, especially where image databases are large and perhaps undocumented, and query by sketch methods are not useful (for example, when all the images have a high degree of similarity), providing an efficient, accurate, and useableinterface for the user to navigate through the database becomes paramount. This experiment focuses on the user controlaspect of navigating through a database of 176 images. Three implementations were tested: a set of forward and back buttons to page through screenfuls of images, a scrollbar, and a 'Velocity Slider,'which was similar to the jog/shuttle control on many VCRs. Additionally, two different densites of image data were analyzed.Results showed that simpler and less dynamic interfaces tended to enable users to concentrate more on the task at hand (and spendless time manipulating the interface)and hence produced faster times. In general, users tended to favor these interfaces as well.