GestureDB: An Accessible & Touch-Guided iPad App for MySQL Database Browsing
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Series/Report no.:2016 Richard J. and Martha D. Denman Undergraduate Research Forum. 21st
Existing interfaces for direct database browsing and manipulation fail to meet the intuitive standards set forth by many of the applications we use on mobile devices today. Given the massive amount of data at our disposal compared to the sparse amount of tools available to efficiently analyze it, an innovative tool that takes advantage of touch-based interfaces has the potential to trigger leaps in data analysis that were not possible before. The key is finding a way to apply mobile-specific interface and navigation techniques to enhance the user's database exploration experience. This task is challenging because it is not intuitive which properties of a touchable interface impact usability, and so it is unclear exactly how these properties can be applied to form database queries. We present GestureDB, an iPad app that uses the ideas set forth in a previous work to create an accessible touch-guided interface for MySQL database browsing . This application maps SQL queries to familiar touch gestures such as swiping or dragging on individual data objects in the database. By using React Native's development platform, we were able to develop a responsive and efficient native interface. We also addressed client-side optimizations specific to the mobile platform, such as request caching and off-screen cell-flushing for large arrays of views. Our results demonstrate that efficient and intuitive database exploration on devices without keyboards can be done. Overall, the application provides for quick and responsive generation of complicated queries, all of which can be explored and applied to a live MySQL database over a cellular network. We anticipate GestureDB to be a starting point for expansion of data analytics into devices that provide a more immersive user experience. The concept of mapping gestures to queries can also be applied to newer devices, such as Oculus Rift and Myo, so as to make data analytics and discovery a more natural experience. Future work should also explore the adaptation of such an interface to smaller phone screens. If we can make data exploration accessible to more users, large data sets can be explored with new perspective, potentially opening brand new market possibilities.  A. Nandi. Querying Without Keyboards. CIDR, 2013.
Engineering: 3rd Place (The Ohio State University Denman Undergraduate Research Forum)
Academic Major: Computer Science and Engineering
National Science Foundation