A Mandala Browser User Study: Visualizing XML Versions of Shakespeare's Plays

Rhiannon Gainor, Stefan Sinclair, Stan Ruecker, Matt Patey, Sandra Gabriele

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We report the results of a small user study of a visual XML browsing prototype, called the Mandala browser, where dots representing entire documents or portions of documents are plotted around the periphery of a circle and drawn inward by colored magnets that are assigned values by the user. The result is akin to a Venn diagram that provides a visual representation of the interaction between multiple Boolean queries. In this study, eleven participants were given a pre-study interview, then asked to carry out a series of tasks where the dots represented speeches in plays by Shakespeare and finally were debriefed in a concluding interview. We gained from this study a range of valuable insights into how details of the Mandala browser design could be improved. Participants mentioned, for instance, that they would like to retain a connection between results and the visualizations that produced them, that they would like to be able to make notes on result sets, and that they would like to be able to save subsets within results. They also asked for tools that support collaborative searching, as well as for federated searching across collections. The user feedback confirmed the potential value of the Mandala interface and provided guidance for the next iteration of development.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)60-85
Number of pages26
JournalVisible Language
StatePublished - 2009


Dive into the research topics of 'A Mandala Browser User Study: Visualizing XML Versions of Shakespeare's Plays'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this