Zooming is one of the basic interaction techniques of information visualizations. Since the maximum amount of information can be limited by the resolution and color depth of a display, zooming is a crucial technique to overcome this limitation. There are three different zooming techniques.
Geometric zooming allows the user to specify the scale of magnification and increasing or decreasing the magnification of an image by that scale. This allows the user focus on a specific area and information outside of this area is generally discarded. A great example is mapping software like MapQuest or Yahoo.
The fisheye zoom is similar to the geometric zoom with the exception that the outside information is not lost from view; this information is merely distorted.Semantic zooming approaches the process from a different angle. Semantic zooming changes the shape or context in which the information is being presented. An example of this type of technique is the use of a digital clock within an application. In a normal view, the clock may show the hour of the day and date. If the user zooms in then the clock may alter it’s appearance by adding the seconds and minutes. If the user that zooms out, information is discarded with only the date remaining. The actual information did not change, only the presentation method.
- [Stephens, 2003] Todd Stephens. A Passion for Metadata – An Interview with Todd Stephens of BellSouth, Wilshire Conferences, Inc., Created at: 2003, Retrieved at: November 2004. http://www.wilshireconferences.com/interviews/Stephens.htm