Design and Display of Enhancing Information in Desktop Information-Rich Virtual Environments: Challenges and Techniques
Polys, Nicholas F.
Bowman, Doug A.
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Information-Rich Virtual Environments (IRVEs) have been described as environments in which perceptual information is enhanced with abstract (or symbolic) information such as text, numbers, images, audio, video, or hyperlinked resources. Desktop VE applications present the same information design and layout challenges as immersive VEs, but in addition, they may also be integrated with external windows or frames commonly used in desktop interfaces. This paper enumerates design approaches for the display of enhancing information both internal and external to the virtual world?s render volume. Using standard web-based software frameworks, we explore a number of implicit and explicit spatial layout methods for the display and linking of abstract information, especially text. Within the virtual environment view, we demonstrate both Heads-Up-Displays and encapsulated scenegraph behaviors we call Semantic Objects. For desktop displays, which support information display venues external to the scene, we demonstrate the linking and integration of the scene with web browsers and the Snap-Together visualization a system. Finally, we describe the application of these techniques in the PathSim Visualizer, an IRVE interface for the biomedical domain. These design techniques are relevant for instructional and informative interfaces for a wide variety of desktop VE applications.