Navigation in Hypertext

Browsing Experiments

De Bra has summarized the results of browsing experiments performed by De Vocht. The purpose of these experiments was to find out which combination of hypertext structures, navigation aids and browsing strategies are best for readers' navigation. Although the range of possible combinations was large, the experiments lead to some clear conclusions, useful for authors, readers and hypertext system builders:

  • The structures that work best for all combinations of navigation aids and browsing strategies, for long and short browsing sessions, are those that have about as many cross-reference links as they have structural (hierarchical) links.
  • The highlighting links facility works best for improving the browsing efficiency in all cases.
  • The depth-first navigation strategy works best in all cases except for short browsing sessions in documents with very few cross-reference links. Furthermore, this optimum is stable: strategies that deviate a bit from depth-first, like the depth-first strategies 1, 2 and 3, also perform well.

The fish-eye view facility was not considered in the experiments because the experiments were aimed at discovering the structure of distributed hyperdocuments, of which the system cannot show a fish-eye view because the structure is not known by a single site.

Navigation in Hypertext Hypertext User

Last modified: 6 Nov 2002 by Kathy Nguyen Dang