DiffDisplays: Tracking Visual Change on Unattended Displays

Last week, I went to Santa Monica, California, to present my first full conference paper at the conference on intelligent user interfaces (IUI 2013). The paper, entitled Subtle Gaze-Dependent Techniques for Visualising Display Changes in Multi-Display Environments, describes four visualisations I and my co-authors developed. These visualisations were created to help users with reduce distractions from displays they are not looking at. The second aim of the visualisations is to help users quickly find out what has changed on the displays while they were not looking at them. Based on our initial evaluation, the visualisations work very well and achieve both of their design goals. At the conference, I was pleased with the interest and feedback the project received. I was very happy for every insightful question people asked. Even more interestingly, information about the project was picked up by the media after the University of St Andrews issued a press release about our work and the story has been picked by over 60 news sites so far (printed and online). Since for me these are all very new experiences and ways of reaching an audience, I am learning a lot. Seeing the interest and impact my work has, I am even more motivated to take it to the next level. At the moment, I am looking at a larger, more targeted study of the visualisations so that we can learn more about the effects and characteristics of the visualisations and subtle interaction techniques in general but I am open to other possibilities as well. I would also love to see my work being used in places outside of academia. If you are interested in what I am doing, if you would like to use what I have created, or if you just want to know a bit more, do let me know.

WindowMap

The windows where change happens (a video is playing in this case) are brightened based on how much change there is.

A detailed view of the PixMap visualisation. Notice how the visualised change (new tweets and a playing video) is very specific and detailed.

PixMap

A temporal heatmap of change. Pixels that change are brightened based on how much change has occurred.

A detailed view of the Aura visualisation. Short term change is visualised as rectangles around application windows. The further away a rectangle is from its window, the longer it has been since the change. The brighter the rectangle is, the more change was happening at that point in time.

Aura

Short term change is visualised as rectangles around application windows. The further away a rectangle is from its window, the longer it has been since the change. The brighter the rectangle is, the more change was happening at that point in time.