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2. Application

2.1 Overview

2.1.1 Interface

Cars makes use of several graphing techniques to illustrate the contents of the cars database: Dot Graph, Line Graph, and Information Mural. Each technique provides a different representation of the data, while focusing on a particular aspect of the data. The Dot Graph primarily orders cars by similar technical values; the Line Graph outlines all variables in comparison; and the Information Mural presents an overview of all cars by brand and year. Besides these three visualizations, Cars also makes use of a text-only representation of the data in the form of a table, as well as a detail view of any car. Lastly, the interface offers a toolbar for easier navigation between visualization frames, and a ubiquitous help frame.

Figure 1.1: Complete Interface
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The Toolbar presents the user with an icon for each frame in the Cars interface. The icons can be used to quickly bring any frame to the front, should it be occluded by other frames.

Figure 1.2: Toolbar
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The help tool provides the user with a quick overview on the functionality of Cars.

Figure 1.3: Help
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2.1.2 Common widgets

For the purpose of zooming and panning in the zoomed view, a customized Zoom-Pan tool has been developed for the three main visualization frames.

The Zoom tool is represented by a scrollable wheel, much like a potentiometer. Zooming in or out takes place by dragging the wheel left or right, respectively.

Figure 1.4: Zoom widget
Once zoomed in, the Pan tool can be utilized to shift the visible section of the frame in the XY plane. To that end, the user presses and drags the mouse within the compass image. The farther the mouse cursor is dragged from the center of the compass, the faster the frame will pan.

Figure 1.5: Pan widget