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Metaphors for the WWW

This spring I have been writing a paper on possible metaphors for the WWW. I wrote for a course in technical writing and it was published in the proceedings of the course conference.

In the paper, I propose using metaphors that lets us navigate in ways similar to how we navigate in real life. The abstract of the paper goes like this:

The World Wide Web has grown to become an enormous network of interconnected documents. The amounts of information is so large that users might get lost in hyperspace due to cognitive overhead and disorientation. To handle this, spatial metaphors relying on our ability to navigate in real-life could be utilized. Overviews, which reveal more of the inherent hypertext features, would lessen the cognitive load, making it clear where on can go and where one has been in hyperspace. Two concepts, fisheye view and surrounding neighbors, are presented alongside a hierarchal representation of hyperspace and evaluated from the perspectives of hypertext features, navigational aids and metaphor mismatches. The outcome of the comparison is that both a spatial and a hierarchal metaphor would be useful. Different users prefer different representations of hyperspace and the ability to switch between the two would increase efficiency in many cases.

If you for some reason would be interested in reading the paper it is available from here:

Navigation in Hyperspace - Possible Metaphors for the WWW

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Created 8th June 2005 20:15 CET. Filed under Interaction design.

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