time quilt

patrick baudisch
      time quilt
time quilt
CHI'05 short paper

2-min wmv 30mb

(top) The time quilt layout makes better use of screen space by breaking a long vertical linear timeline into columns.

(bottom) Screenshot of the time quilt browser. Each thumbnail represents an entire cluster of photos and will break apart into the actual photo thumbnail when zoomed in. Clusters are laid out using the time quilt layout shown above.

For the large percentage of users who don't want to invest the effort of manually organizing their photo collections, only (1) the photo creation date and (2) the visual contents of the photo itself are available to support retrieval. Linear timeline layouts maximize use of the former; space-filling photo layouts (e.g., PhotoMesa) maximize the use of the latter. We propose time quilt, a layout designed to combine the benefits of both approaches. A time quilt layout is created by packing a timeline layout into a rectangular screen space using a "line break" algorithm. While still conveying temporal order, the time quilt layout makes reasonable use of screen space. In an experimental comparison of space-filling, timeline, and time quilt layouts, participants carried out the task of finding photos in their personal photo collections averaging 4,000 items. They performed 45% faster on time quilt.

In addition, we have used the time quilt photo browser to investigate what we call "semantic zooming based on representative photos". When zoomed out, our browser collapses each cluster of thumbnails into a single large thumbnail. This allows users to get an overview of collections that are so large that normal thumbnails would become unreadably small when zoomed out.

In collaboration with David Huynh and Steve Drucker