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Visualization of File System Hierarchies
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Visualization of File System Hierarchies
[Background] [Particpants] [Recent Papers] [Software]


Insight into the data residing on single hard drives and in larger file collections has become increasingly important. The increasing storage glut means that we save more and more data that we would otherwise have thrown away. An increase in security problems such as e-mail worms and spyware has also made greater insight important. A cheap modern desktop computer comes installed with as much as 30,000 files, and this before you have even had a chance to author your first document. Anyone claiming to have full control over the data residing in his or her desktop computer (assuming that it is reasonably modern) is quite simply underestimating the complexity of such a task.

Screen capture from the file system visualization tool StepTree.

The file system visualization tool StepTree was first developed as a part of Thomas Bladh's master thesis project. For the study project "Extending Tree-Maps to Three Dimensions: A Comparative Study" the software was substantially redesigned, improving aspects such as navigation and filtering (by among other things supporting "Dynamic Queries", a concept first introduced by Ahlberg and Shneiderman). StepTree is essentially a three dimensional extension of Shneiderman's space filling Tree-Map concept.

We wanted to look at how the extension into three dimensions affected usability of Tree-Maps. To this end we recruited 20 volunteer participants for a study comparing performance with the two dimensional Treemap tool from the Human Computer Interaction Lab at the University of Maryland to our tool StepTree.


David A. Carr, Luleå University of Technology
Thomas Bladh, Luleå University of Technology

Recent Papers

Bladh, T., Carr, D., Scholl, J. Extending tree-maps to three dimensions: a comparative study, to appear in the Proceedings of the 6th Asia-Pacific Conference on Computer-Human Interaction (APCHI 2004), M. Masoodian, S. Jones, and B. Rogers, editors. Rotorua, New Zealand, June 29 - Jul 2 2004.


StepTree is a file system visualization tool based on the TreeMap concept which has been developed mainly here at Luleå University of Technology.

Download: StepTree v1.8.1 (Build 702)

Last modified 2005-07-03
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