Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Designing Queries: A user interface challenge

Old problems never die, they just come back in new forms.

I'm working on how to design an extremely usable and flexible user interface for a query tool. The challenge is how to enable the user to write complex sql queries while scaffolding them in a way appropriate to their existing knowledge. This reminds me distinctly of the work Brian Reiser did with Anderson on visual programming languages -- a system I worked on part time in grad school. From this link I've come up with a couple citations and I may now have to invest in an ACM digital library membership (which I've never needed before) -- but these problems are hard enough to want to see what other people have done.

A graphical programming language for an intelligent LISP tutor. BJ Reiser

A teaching system for SQL

Dynamic queries for information exploration: an implementation and evaluation

I also came across this useful link summarizing Shneiderman's Eight Golden Rules

Any other suggestions?

1 comment:

  1. relational databases are a general purpose tool for extracting subsets and summaries of data.

    The trick to writing a good query tool is to have more intelligence about the underlying data and the use cases than a general purpose database does.