ABS: Hochheiser, Understanding pattens of user visits to web sites

Gretchen Whitney gwhitney at UTKUX.UTCC.UTK.EDU
Tue Nov 16 18:26:00 EST 1999

Harry Hochheiser (hsh at cs.umd.edu), Ben Schneiderman (ben at cs.umd.edu)
Understanding patterns of user visits to web sites:  interactive starfield
visualizations of WWW log data

Knowledge: Creation, Organization and Use. Procs. of the 62nd ASIS Annual
Meeting.  Medford, NJ: Information Today, 1999. p. 331-344.

HTTP server log files provide WEb site operators with substantial detail
regarding the visitors to their sites.  Interest in interpreting this data
has spawned an active market for software packages that summarize and
analyze this data, providing histograms, pie graphs, and other charts
summarizing usage patterns.  While useful. these summaries obscure useful
information and restrict users to passive interpretations of static

Interactive starfield visualizations can be used to provide users with
greater abilities to interpret and explore web log data.  By combining
two-dimensional displays of thousands of individual access requests, color
and size coding for additional attributes, and facilities for zooming and
filtering, these visualizations provide capabilities for examining data
tha exceed those of traditional web log analysis tools.  We introduce a
series of interactive starfield visualizations, which can be used to
explore server data across various dimensions.  Possible uses of these
visualizations are discussed, and difficulties of data collection,
presentation, and interpretation are explored.


c. ASIS; reprinted with permission; please visit the asis website at

Gretchen Whitney, PhD                                     tel 423.974.7919
School of Information Sciences                            fax 423.974.4967
University of Tennessee, Knoxville TN 37996 USA           gwhitney at utk.edu

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