Alas, having just returned from a trip to California and with a new site just taking shape, I couldn’t justify heading to CHI2007. I’m watching the buzz when I can.
At the exploratory search workshop, the latest from Texas A&M project Combinformation is included. Check page 45 of the PDF for a fresh screenshot. I talked about Combinformation back in 2004, after meeting Andruid at ACM Hypertext.
Shown to right is a screen from within combinformation, remixing image and text “surrogates” from content sources. This can be used as a selection interface for freshly retrieved content, or as a browser for content already viewed serving goals of recollection and review.
The demo I got of Combinformation in 2004 showed flying back through browser history by visual excerpt. These bits of pages are much more salient and information rich than the web page thumbnails that have served in the most advanced history mechanisms of recent years.
I’ve been eyeing the CacheViewer extension as a way to potentially create something like Combinformation in Firefox. However, it binds to XUL, so in casual inspection, didn’t provide an easily repurposable .js API.
Two scenarios are of most interest:
- Fly through history, focus in on window or browser tab to refind or reinstate context.
- Actively mark, with lightweight mousehover, text highlight, or similar inobtrusive affordance, page content of interest during an exploratory session — then revisit. This could be done with Scrapbook perhaps, creating an implicit set of captures by tweaking the UI a bit.
Visit the Combinformation site to play with a heavy weight java app. The project owners were open to working with Firefox back in ‘04 but had run into roadblocks. The development ecosystem is much improved now!?
There’s some experience design going on in the combinformation project. That’s awesome, but with somewhere around 50% of site visits being “revisits”, there’s a serious need just to make revisitation not suck.