Navigation in Hypertext

The Love of Possibility

In Hypertext 2.0, some experiments on how students used hypertext were described. In these experiments, the students showed their love of browsing and chancing their luck to find information. In addition, more experienced students, in some cases, had more difficulties with certain aspects of information retrieval tasks than the others. To conclude, the author presented six points about the reader disorientation:

  1. Although it represents a potentially significant problem in some systems, a priori concerns about it may well arise from lack of experience with hypertext systems, specifically from attempting to apply reading and information retrieval protocols appropriate to book technology to this new medium.
  2. What one reader experiences as unwanted disorientation, another may find pleasurable.
  3. Disorientation has quite different connotations in the writings of those based in technological disciplines, in which a concept of education is essentially limited to factual information, as opposed to literary disciplines, in which students learn to deal with complex matters of interpretation.
  4. Disorientation arises both in the normal act of reading difficult material and in poorly designed systems.
  5. Since for the foreseeable future, book and electronic technologies will exist together, in some applications supplementing and in others competing with each other, designers of hypertext systems will continue to find themselves in a terribly difficult situation.
  6. Last, the most important point is that the way we write, as much as system design, as much as software design, can prevent the less pleasant forms of disorientation. We must therefore develop a rhetoric and stylistics of hypertext writing.

Navigation in Hypertext Hypertext User

Last modified: 6 Nov 2002 by Kathy Nguyen Dang