Designing Data Mining Droplets: New Interface Objects for the Humanities Scholar

Stan Ruecker, Milena Radzikowska, Stéfan Sinclair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this paper, we describe the design of a number of alternative interface "droplets" that are intended for use by humanities scholars interested in applying data mining and information visualization tools to the task of hypothesis formulation. The trained droplets provide several functions. Their primary purpose is to encapsulate the results of the software training phase. They can be saved for future re-use against other collections or combinations of collections. They can be modified by having the user accept or reject features identified by the data mining software. Finally, they can also contain choices for how to display and organize items in the collection. The opportunity to develop a new interface object presents the designer with the challenge of effectively communicating what the tool is good for and how it is used. This paper outlines the design process we followed in creating the visual representations of these interface objects, describes the communicative strengths and weaknesses of a number of alternative designs, and discusses the importance of the study of new interface objects as the means of providing the user with new interface affordances
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalDigital Humanities Quarterly
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2009


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