This paper describes Thread Arcs, a novel interactive visualization technique designed to help people use threads found in email. Thread Arcs combine the chronology of messages with the branching tree structure of a conversational
thread in a mixed-model visualization  that is stable and compact. By quickly scanning and interacting with Thread Arcs, people can see various attributes of conversations and find relevant messages in them easily. We tested this technique
against other visualization techniques with users own email in a functional prototype of ReMail, our research group’s experimental email client. Thread Arcs proved an excellent match for the types of threads found in users’ email and the qualities users wanted in small-scale thread visualizations.
By: Bernard J. Kerr
Published in: RC22850 in 2003
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