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Home > Archive > Developers/reference > Glossary



A component of a graphic interface, which is currently selected to receive user input, is said to have the focus. In a nodemap, the center node has the “focus.” The focus can usually be changed by clicking the mouse on a component that can receive focus.

Graphic interface

Also known as a Graphic User Interface (GUI), it allows users to interact with a computer by using graphical icons, visual indicators, and special elements called “widgets.” Users typically operate the interface by directly manipulating its graphical parts.


A tree-like system for organizing information where each element is subordinate to a single other element called a parent. On top of each hierarchy is an element known as the root, which has no parent. Hierarchies typically display and emphasize the relationships that exist among their component parts.

Interactivity & Interaction

Interactivity refers to the ability of software to accept and respond to input such as data or commands provided by people. Interaction refers to the degree of responsiveness of a user interface to human physical manipulation like movement.

Intuitive interface

An interface that can be used efficiently without preliminary training and based solely on intuition. That intuition must have been developed following an experience of operating similar systems, including products of nature.


An array of elements arranged in certain way, which may reflect the relationships that these elements have with one another. A radial layout is a special case where the elements are arranged in concentric rings around a central unit.


Multi-touch human-computer interaction approach that recognizes multiple simultaneous touches on a touch screen or touchpad. It is great for zooming and rotating scenes. Future versions of SpicyNodes may support multi-touch.


A group or system of elements interconnected in a specific way, which is known as the network topology. Networked elements may or may not be subordinate or superior to one another, unlike hierarchies where verticality is obligatory. Networks allow open-ended browsing by simply jumping among the linked topics.


The notional entities that constitute a map. They can incorporate or stand for various concepts and the aggregate can designate a mental model. Nodes can have relationships among each other; when they do, their relationships are visualized, typically as arcs or lines. Nodes themselves can have various graphic representations, typically regular shapes.


Nodemaps are maps of information. There are many different types of nodemaps, all based on an underlying structure of interconnected nodes. Nodemaps are either hierarchical or networked in nature.

Organic structure

A structure that utilizes forms, methods, and patterns found in living systems. The ingredient parts of an organic structure are typically interdependent although differentiated in their functions. Organic structures usually grow in an evolutionary manner.

Radial map

A graphic representation of interconnected notional entities referred to as nodes. The nodes are arranged in concentric rings around a central node, which is said to bear “the focus.” Each node lies on the ring corresponding to its distance from the focus.

Touch user interface

Often referred to by its acronym TUI, it is a technology used to point at elements of a GUI by utilizing the human sense of touch. In some cases, TUI enables users to activate computer controls by tactile input. For example, users with visual impairments can make use of a TUI by employing Braille input in order to interact with a computer system.


The acronym stands for eXtensible Markup Language, a general-purpose markup language classified as extensible because of its ability to allow users to define their own tags. XML is currently widely used as a means of sharing structured data across different information systems.

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