Hoptrees are a simple visual navigation tool to help keep you from getting lost in hierarchical information.
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Do you ever forget where you are in your file system, or while using a complicated multi-page website? Hierarchical information structures such as these are ubiquitous and important in business, research, and everyday life.
Hoptrees preserve your recent navigation history over the hierarchy. Instead of listing the nodes you have visited in a list (like in your browser history), it displays the nodes in a hierarchical fashion. You can click on a node in the hoptree to instantly return to a previously visited location, helping to avoid tedious and error-prone backtracking. To keep the hoptree size at a manageable level, older branches are removed to make room for new navigation history.
Together, these features help you remember where you are and how you got there, and quickly return to recently visited areas of the hierarchy. Hoptrees were developed by Michael Brooks, Jevin D. West, Cecilia Aragon, and Carl T. Bergstrom. A paper about hoptrees, Hoptrees: Branching History Navigation for Hierarchies, was published in September 2013 at the INTERACT conference in Cape Town, South Africa (PDF).