A software utility that grew out of visual perception research at Xerox's famous PARC labs magnifies critical information on web pages, making it "pop out" and appear to float above the background.
Popout Prism works like a Web browser such as Internet Explorer or Netscape. Browsing is also similar -- you enter URLs and follow links as usual. Once you've found a promising page you want to explore further, simply enter keywords into the text box at the top of the browser.
Popout Prism locates these keywords on the Web page and converts them into popouts in a special "enhanced thumbnail" view, as well as on the web page itself. A sliding window located over the enhanced thumbnail shows the location of the keywords in the document you're viewing. You can drag this window along the thumbnail to scroll through the full page.
Popout Prism is particularly useful when searching for information in long documents and in large collections of documents. It's also useful for anyone who's visually impaired, as well as for anyone showing web pages on with a data projector to a group of people.
The research staff that created Popout Prism did a study comparing Enhanced Thumbnails to more traditional methods of displaying search results. Study participants were given a set of information-finding tasks to be done using a search engine. Their search results were displayed using text, plain thumbnails, and Enhanced Thumbnails.
The study showed that people using Enhanced Thumbnails found the answers to their queries 29% faster than when they used text summaries, and 22% faster than when they used plain thumbnails.
Not sure that you might find Popout Prism useful? Try the Demonstration of Enhanced Thumbnails for Web Search
http://www.parc.com/solutions/enhancedthumbnails/demo.html to see for yourself. This demo uses three diverse queries to illustrate Popout Prism's utility:
"Find at least three side-effects of Halcion"
"Find Joe Hellerstein's home page"
"Find the mileage of a hybrid (gas and electric) car"
Popout Prism is free to download and use -- a simple, brief registration is required. Requires Windows 98 or higher operating system; no Macintosh version is available.
About Popout Prism
Download Popout Prism
NOTE: Article links often change. In case of a bad link, use the publication's search facility, which most have, and search for the headline.
Introducing SES Online
Want to view one of the sessions you missed or listen to an especially informative presenter a second time? SES New York sessions are available for purchase on ClickZ Academy's new e-Learning site. SES is now Online!