Designing and evaluating information spaces : a navigational perspective
Navigation in two and three dimensional electronic environments has become an important usability issue.Research in to the use of hypertext systems would appear to suggest that people suffer from a variety of navigational problems in these environments. In addition users also encounter problems in 3D environments and in applications software. Therefore in order to enhance the ease of use from the point of view of preventing errors and making it more pleasurable the navigating in information space approach to HCI has been adopted. The research presented in this thesis examines whether the study of real world environments, in particular aspects of the built environment, urban planning and environmental psychology are beneficial in the development of guidelines for interface design and evaluation. In doing so the thesis examines three main research questions (1) is there a transfer of design knowledge from real to electronic spaces? (2) can concepts be provided in a series of useful guidelines? (3) are the guidelines useful for the design and evaluation of electronic spaces? Based upon the results of the two main studies contained within this thesis it is argued that the navigational perspective is one which is relevant to user interface design and evaluation and that navigation in electronic spaces is comparable to but not identical with actions within the real world. Moreover, the studies pointed to the validity of the core concepts when evaluating 2D and 3D spaces and designing 3D spaces. The thesis also points to the relevancy of the overall design guidance in 2D and 3D environments and the ability to make such information available through a software tool.