Designing to Facilitate Browsing: A Look Back at the Hyperties Workstation Browser
By Ben Shneiderman, Catherine Plaisant, Rodrigo Botafogo, Don Hopkins, William Weiland.
Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory
A.V. Williams Bldg., University of Maryland
College Park MD 20742, U.S.A.
Since browsing hypertext can present a formidable cognitive challenge, user interface design plays a major role in determining acceptability. In the Unix workstation version of Hyperties, a research-oriented prototype, we focussed on design features that facilitate browsing. We first give a general overview of Hyperties and its markup language. Customizable documents can be generated by the conditional text feature that enables dynamic and selective display of text and graphics. In addition we present:
- an innovative solution to link identification: pop-out graphical buttons of arbitrary shape.
- application of pie menus to permit low cognitive load actions that reduce the distraction of common actions, such as page turning or window selection.
- multiple window selection strategies that reduce clutter and housekeeping effort. We preferred piles-of-tiles, in which standard-sized windows were arranged in a consistent pattern on the display and actions could be done rapidly, allowing users to concentrate on the contents.
HyperTIES is an early hypermedia browser developed under the direction of Dr. Ben Shneiderman at the University of Maryland Human Computer Interaction Lab.