Thursday, 14 August 2008

Freebase Parallax

The video of the new Parallax interface for Freebase, recently distributed by David Huynh, is brilliant. I totally recommend you watch it. A fellow exploratory search fanatic, Daniel Tunkelang, has blogged about its qualities in terms of linking between different entity types, which is quite special.

What I especially love about is the simple clear layout metaphor that it uses. It's a very clean left-to-right system (although this, i suppose, is more familiar for Western countries). It works a little like this: Your current results are smack bam in the middle infront of you. Anything to the left is something 'before' and anything to the right is something 'after'. The facets on the left are ones that apply to the current type of object in the results list. So if you select an item from any of the facets to the left (which are 'before' your current results) your results are reduced/filtered. The example in the video is that you are looking at a list of presidents, and by selecting a political party on the left, the presidents are filtered.

The facets on the right, however, are different types of related objects that you could move 'forward' to from your current data. The example they give is to the presidents' children. This moves you forward to see a list of people who were the children of (the filtered set of) presidents. They have different (or though some will overlap (like gender)) facets on the left which can be used to further reduce the children shown. The facets on the right are new objects that you can move 'foward' to from children.

All the while the left to right progress is mirrored by a left-to-right breadcrumb above the current information so you can see the steps 'forward' you took.

its all very nice, clean, clear, and still lets you browse endlessly through interconnected heterogenous data types. Nothing less that you expect from David Huynh!

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