Interactive Fisheye Views for Groupware

Fisheye views are well-known visualization techniques that provide a sense of global context as well as local detail. We have developed a prototype system that differs from traditional fisheye views in two ways. First, the user can create, edit, and move objects in the fisheye workspace. Second, our system is groupware, so several people can see and manipulate the data at the same time, using individual focal points.

The figure illustrates a direct-manipulation editor for graphs with typed and labeled nodes and edges. Because these graphs are often too big to fit in one window, we impose a fisheye effect on them. The left figure shows a sample, with a user's focal point on a node. Users can create, label and link nodes, and modify them at any time. As groupware, several people can view and manipulate the concept map at the same time, where changes are immediately visible to all. As a groupware fisheye, each person can set their own individual focal point, allowing them to work independently on different parts fo the map. Every person's display shows the focal points of all participants, although at lower magnification than their own focus. Thus, every person's display will differ, as more visual emphasis is placed on the local focal point than on remote ones (the figures show this difference). Because the entire map fits in one window, and because others' locations are magnified, all members of the group are able to maintain awareness of where others are and what they are doing.

Primary Investigators

Carl Gutwin (as part of his PhD dissertation)
Saul Greenberg (Supervisor)


  • Implemented two systems: groupware fisheye text editor and concept map editor.
  • Papers and videos produced describing the work.

Current Status

  • We are interested in evaluating the system in formal studies, but have not yet done so.