Improving list revisitation with ListMaps
Selecting items from lists is a common task in many applications. Alphabetically-sorted listboxes are the most common interface widget used to accomplish this selection, but although general they can be slow and frustrating to use, particularly when the lists are long. In addition, when the user regularly revisits a small set of items, listboxes provide little support for increased performance through experience. To address these shortcomings, we developed a new list selection device called a ListMap, which organizes list items into a space-filling array of buttons. Items never move in a ListMap, which allows people to make use of spatial memory to find common items more quickly. We carried out a study to compare selection of font names from a set of 220 fonts using both ListMaps and standard listboxes. We found that although listboxes are faster for unknown items, revisitation leads to significant performance gains for the ListMap.