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authors Dieberger, Andreas
year 1994
title Navigation in Spatial Information Environments: User Interface Design Issues for Hypertext and VR Systems Posters
source Proceedings of the ECHT'94 European Conference on Hypermedia Technologies 1994
summary The Information City project (presented in a poster at Hypertext 93) uses the spatial user interface metaphor of a city to organize and navigate large collections of hypertextual information. As we are used to navigate real life cities the city metaphor -- enriched with magic features -- should help to navigate information structures. A first implementation of the Information City was started in a MUD system. MUDs are networked multi-user text-adventure games which usually make use of a house / city metaphor. MUDs are conceptually similar to hypertext systems and navigational findings in those systems are therefore relevant also to hypertext. While implementing the first parts of the city research into navigation in MUDs was found necessary. This poster presents some results of this navigational study and describes how knowledge in the domains of architecture and city-planning can be used to design an easy to navigate virtual city. Highlights of the results concern magic features and collaboration. Magic features extend the spatial metaphor beyond typical properties of space. An example is the hypertext link which allows tunneling through the spatial structure. Other results concern the richness of spaces (or space-descriptions) and communication between users. It seems the chief benefit of the spatial metaphor of the city is in communication about spatial relationships of information. The findings probably are valuable in designing any information system using spatial metaphors. They are especially useful for hypertext systems realized in some virtual environment -- be it a MUD or an immerse virtual reality system.
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