Visualisation of hypermedia systems : an open approach
Hypermedia systems are designed to allow links, or connections, to be made between different media objects. Key issues tackled in early hypermedia systems included developing tools to help guide users through the material and tools to help authors maintain the material that they create. The open approach to hypermedia emerged, where links were separated from the content of documents, allowing a more modular approach to hypermedia services. The ease of integration of tools in these open systems promoted the creation of many different types of navigational aids, designed to help users of the systems to access and maintain the information contained within them. The openness and modular nature of such systems creates its own problems however. Users will often have to interact with a number of disparate interfaces to manipulate the navigational information. A new approach is presented which provides an open framework for these interfaces, allowing for a co-ordinated strategy and the modular addition of tools to help manage the screen interface and reduce the complexity of the interaction for users. A second approach to the problem is to provide the different hypermedia information within a unifying visualisation. A novel framework is presented which allows more open access to the underlying navigational information of hypermedia systems. Visualisation tools can be connected to this framework in a modular fashion to provide flexible visualisations of the underlying information. By generating a number of different visualisations, the openness and flexibility of the visualisation framework approach is demonstrated.