Popout Prism

By Deane Barker on April 2, 2003

Popout Prism: Those nutty folks over at Xerox PARC have come up with a tool to make finding information in Web pages easier (within one page only — it’s not a search engine). Check the image below. You bring up a Web page, then enter a keyword, and that keyword “pops” out of the page. In addition, there’s a thumbnail of the entire page on the left with the keywords highlighted so you can see the whole page in context. You can drag with viewing window down the thumbnail.

“Popout Prism was tested internally by technical and non-technical users during a normal work week. The perceptual design principles were effective: Popout Prism users were able to quickly find information, and they preferred the Popout Prism interface to traditional ‘find’and highlighting techniques.”

Popout Prism is just a theory right now. The browser is a test platform, like HotJava of years ago. The technology is available to be licensed so it can be incorporated into other products (Adobe, are you listening? Acrobat is dying for something like this. You ever try to find something in a long PDF?).

You can find all about the product at the Xerox PARC site.