Summary: Scented Widgets: Improving Navigation Cues with
Wesley Willett, Jeffrey Heer, and Maneesh Agrawala
Abstract--This paper presents scented widgets, graphical user interface controls enhanced with embedded visualizations that
facilitate navigation in information spaces. We describe design guidelines for adding visual cues to common user interface
widgets such as radio buttons, sliders, and combo boxes and contribute a general software framework for applying scented
widgets within applications with minimal modifications to existing source code. We provide a number of example applications and
describe a controlled experiment which finds that users exploring unfamiliar data make up to twice as many unique discoveries
using widgets imbued with social navigation data. However, these differences equalize as familiarity with the data increases.
Index Terms--Information visualization, user interface toolkits, information foraging, social navigation, social data analysis.
The success of an interactive visualization depends not only on the
visual encodings, but also on the mechanisms for navigating the
visualized information space. These navigational mechanisms can
take many forms, including panning and zooming, text queries, and
dynamic query widgets. However, effective navigation relies on
more than input techniques alone; appropriate visual navigation cues
can aid users by guiding and refining their exploration.
Both psychological and sociological considerations suggest
approaches for improving navigation cues. Pirolli and Card's