Evaluating the Effectiveness of Occlusion Reduction Techniques for 3D Virtual Environments
Paper in proceedings, 2006
We present an empirical usability experiment studying the relative strengths and weaknesses of three different occlusion reduction techniques for discovering and accessing objects in information-rich 3D virtual environments. More specifically, the study compares standard 3D navigation, generalized fisheye techniques using object scaling and transparency, and the BalloonProbe interactive 3D space distortion technique. Subjects are asked to complete a number of different tasks, including counting, pattern recognition, and object relation, in different kinds of environments with various properties. The environments include a free-space abstract 3D environment and a virtual 3D walkthrough application
for a simple building floor. The study involved 16 subjects and was conducted in a three-sided CAVE environment. Our results confirm the general guideline that each task calls for a specialized interactionno single technique performed best across all tasks and worlds. The results also indicate a clear trade-off between speed and accuracy; simple navigation was the fastest but also most error-prone technique, whereas spherical BalloonProbe proved the most accurate but required longer completion time, making it suitable for applications where mistakes incur a high cost.
3D space distortion