Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Power of Visual Summary

As Internet users we spend a significant amount of time examining search engine results.

For each search results we must click through many links to briefly evaluate each for possible relevance to a particular information we need. Improving the efficiency of this tedious process directly benefits the users.

The standard practice is to provide 1 sentence textual summary snippet by the search engine.  Specifically, Google shows up to 156 characters (including spaces) of a page’s meta description tag.

Here is a typical example of a Google summarization snippet:

summarization snippet
Google summarization snippet

We believe that this practice can be significantly enhanced by providing the ability to automatically generate a more detailed visual and textual summaries of web pages.

Visual summaries greatly increase the efficiency by which readers evaluate and use search engine results. For example, keywords in visual summaries allow users to instantly see the most significant content at once without searches.

This visual presentation of the most pertinent information is a tremendous time saver. 

Let's look at an example of a Visual Summary for the "coffee"search term generated by WebSummarizer:

Visual Summary
Visual Summary example

Advantages of Visual Summary presentation:
  • Visual summaries conveniently aggregate the most important information around the key ideas. This makes it very easy to examine summaries by keywords.
  •  In addition there are 2 options: Short Summary and Full Summary. Both summaries provides the most relevant extracts for quick orientation.
  •  Visual Summary format enforces readability and with the highlighted keywords enhances quick comprehension of the textual summary.
  • Visual presentation enhances ability to remember. It pairs the visual presentation with structured outline to make it easy to reuse the information when creating new documents.
  • Providing the ability to expand and collapse the Visual Summary branches gives users great freedom to zoom in only on the points of interest.
The Visual Summary presentation makes it easy to understand and remember the key information.

Here is the dynamic Visual Summary of the coffee Wikipedia article:

                               VISUAL  SUMMARY                           

To navigate the Visual Summary:  
* click on any + or - next to a keyword in the map  
* or click on the Expand All or Collapse All buttons. ----------------------------------------------------------------   

 A bit of science
  • Visual information presentation speeds up many tasks tremendously. We can get the gist of an image in 110 ms or less! (Coltheart, 1999)
  • In that same 110 ms, we can read on average less than 1 word or skim two words. The average reader of English reads about 4.2 words per second and can skim or scan at roughly 17 words per second. (Chapman, 1993) 
  • Coltheart, V. (Ed.). (1999). Fleeting memories: Cognition of brief visual stimuli. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.).
  • Chapman, A. (Ed.). (1993). Making sense: Teaching critical reading across the curriculum. New York: The College Board.).
About WebSummarizer  
WebSummarizer provides tools to VISUALIZE and SUMMARIZE web pages and documents.

The results are presented as interactive Visual SummariesTree Views and a Keyword Clouds and can be downloaded easily published in blogs and websites

The Visual Summary can be navigated in any browser on Windows, Mac, Linux, iPhone, iPad and Android devices. The Keyword Cloud is linked with Wikipedia Knowledge Base. When you click on the keyword in the cloud you will be presented with an instant Visual Summary.

You can summarize text in English, French, German and Spanish.

The keywords and summaries are easily exported to other applications such as word editors, browsers, mind mapping applications like Mindjet MindManager, MindGenius, XMind, and any other mind mapping application.

FREE Trial here: WebSummarizer

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