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Title: Redefining the hyperlink
Author: Stanyer, Dominic S. J.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2001
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By advocating an approach to interface design based on the work of Suchman and her observation that actions are situated in the particular circumstance in which they occur, this thesis argues that the simple hypertext abstractions of the Web page and the hyperlink prevent the system from revealing the Internet technology below. An investigation into WWW use shows that this seamless hypertext abstraction is very rarely sustained in practice. Users struggle to explain dynamic system disturbances and fail to prevent worthless hyperlink activations. The investigation reveals the problems that users encounter and the strategies they employ in their attempts to circumvent these abstractions and probe the system for more appropriate information. The findings of this investigation highlight the Universal Resource Locator (URL) as the most important resource available to the WWW user when resolving a system disturbance or predicting the content of a referenced Web page. Experiments were undertaken to uncover first, what type of system information users can extract from the URL and secondly, how confident and accurate users are at extracting such information. The understanding of WWW use elicited through the observational investigations and the directed experimentation, was then employed in the design of an extension to the WWW browser - the hyperlink lens - which redefines the hyperlink abstraction by revealing to the user information about the data transfer process and the referenced Web page.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available