Proceedings: GI 2011

AppMap: exploring user interface visualizations

Michael Rooke, Tovi Grossman, George Fitzmaurice

Proceedings of Graphics Interface 2011: St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada, 25 - 27 May 2011, 111-118

  • BibTex

    author = {Rooke, Michael and Grossman, Tovi and Fitzmaurice, George},
    title = {AppMap: exploring user interface visualizations},
    booktitle = {Proceedings of Graphics Interface 2011},
    series = {GI 2011},
    year = {2011},
    issn = {0713-5424},
    isbn = {978-1-4503-0693-5},
    location = {St. John{\textquoteright}s, Newfoundland, Canada},
    pages = {111--118},
    numpages = {8},
    publisher = {Canadian Human-Computer Communications Society},
    address = {Toronto, Ontario, Canada},


In traditional graphical user interfaces, the majority of UI elements are hidden to the user in the default view, as application designers and users desire more space for their application data. We explore the benefits of dedicating additional screen space for presenting an alternative visualization of an application's user interface. Some potential benefits are to assist users in examining complex software, understanding the extent of an application's capabilities, and exploring the available features. We propose user interface visualizations, alternative representations of an application's interface augmented with usage information. We introduce a design space for UI visualizations and describe some initial prototypes and insights based on this design space. We then present AppMap, our new design, which displays the entire function set of AutoCAD and allows the user to interactively explore the visualization which is augmented with visual overlays displaying analytical data about the functions and their relations. In our initial studies, users welcomed this new presentation of functionality, and the unique information that it presents.