Proceedings of the Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences

A high-density catalog for online browsing

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In brick-and mortar stores and paper catalogs, the experiential, non-directed consumer activity called browsing can expose a prospective buyer to hundreds of images, scents, and sounds in the space of seconds. On the World-Wide Web, however, the browser's experience is attenuated, not only by the limited number of items represented at a given time on a given page, but by the number of arbitrary decisions that are often required to navigate to that page. The High-Density Online Catalog (HDOC) is a single-page, interactive visualization derived from parallel coordinate plots and intended for browsing many items with common attributes. A fully populated HDOC immediately communicates its depth and breadth, and engages the user to dip freely into its contents. A prototype of HDOC, illustrating many hundreds of musical works, has been developed in conjunction with the composer, Philip Glass. This paper discusses the HDOC interface design and initial usability studies.