Delta: A Tool For Representing and Comparing Workflows

Nicholas Kong, Tovi Grossman, Björn Hartmann, George Fitzmaurice, Maneesh Agrawala


Tutorials and sample workflows for complicated, feature- rich software packages are widely available online. As a result users must differentiate between workflows to choose the most suitable one for their task. We present Delta, an interactive workflow visualization and comparison tool that helps users identify the tradeoffs between workflows. We conducted an initial study to identify the set of attributes users attend to when comparing workflows, finding that they consider result quality, their knowledge of commands, and the efficiency of the workflow. We then designed Delta to surface these attributes at three granularities: a high-level, clustered view; an intermediate-level list view that contains workflow summaries; and a low-level detail view that allows users to compare two individual workflows. Finally, we conducted an evaluation of Delta on a small corpus of 30 workflows and found that the intermediate list view provided the best information density. We conclude with thoughts on how such a workflow comparison system could be scaled up to larger corpora in the future.

Delta’s workflow explorer. The list view (left) displays workflow summaries. The cluster view (top right) groups workflows by similarity. The detail view (bottom right) shows individual steps and union graphs of shared commands.

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Delta: A Tool For Representing and Comparing Workflows
ACM Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI), 2012, pp. 1027-1036.