Visual Browsing in Product Development Processes
In modern product development a wealth of knowledge is developed and stored in electronic form which leads to challenging retrieval tasks. Opposing to that, companies need to reduce development times and costs to stay competitive. Therefore, it is necessary to reuse existing knowledge in the company that comprises existing parts and components amongst others. This paper introduces an exploratory approach to support engineers in retrieval tasks in product development. We present a search engine prototype which employs data visualization techniques to expand the idea of browsing and faceted search. We propose the usage of parallel coordinates plots known from multi-dimensional data visualization as a method for issuing faceted search queries. Next to the higher expressiveness of the possible queries which can be stated, the introduced solution offers better visual insight about the artifacts from product development. Additionally, we introduce ways to influence rankings by user preference functions which help weighting the search criteria.