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Focus+Context Display and Navigation Techniques
for Enhancing Radial, Space-Filling Hierarchy Visualizations

John Stasko and Eugene Zhang
Proceedings of IEEE Information Visualization 2000, pp. 57-65.
Salt Lake City, UT, October 2000.

Paper (PDF, 109 Kb).

Video (MPEG, 37.9 Mb).

An implementation by Thomas Rauscher.


Radial, space-filling visualizations can be useful for depicting information hierarchies, but they suffer from one major problem. As the hierarchy grows in size, many items become small, peripheral slices that are difficult to distinguish. We have developed three visualization/interaction techniques that provide flexible browsing of the display. The techniques allow viewers to examine the small items in detail while providing context within the entire information hierarchy. Additionally, smooth transitions between views help users maintain orientation within the complete information space.


1. Angular Detail method

2. Detail Inside method

3. Detail Outside method

4. Comparison between the original sunburst display and the three techniques shown above.