Joel's Colloquium 1

Ben Schneiderman

Schneiderman presented the problem of humans being inundated with data, and then presented a solution. In society and business today, frequently we are using large datasets of information. The problem occurs when we try and represent that in an understandable fashion. Most of us would agree that a table with a million entries is not a good method to display the information, so how should we represent it while being able to retain the details when they are needed?

Schneiderman introduced three main concepts for a successful human interface: rapid, incremental, and reversible. Rapid puts the data in an easy to understand way: a viewer can quickly understand trends that are found in the information. Then incremental allows a user to analyze a piece of the information; get down to all the detail that would have been too much information to notice general trends. Reversible simply allows a user to undo a change they just made.