Plats: MIT-huset, MC 413
David Modjeska: Navigation in Electronic Worlds
As information environments become larger and more complex, a pressing problem is no longer that of finding information, but of finding one's way in information. That is, a central problem is that of user navigation. Navigation is important for a user's effectivness, as well as for meaningful experience. Existing strategies in information retrieval and graphical user interfaces often don't scale up well for large information environments. Such environments include both hypertext systems, such as the World Wide Web, and virtual reality systems. Much previous research on electronic worlds has considered information exploration, structuring, and visualization. Some relevant research can also be found in the areas of urban design (architecture and urban planning) and the social sciences (cognitive psychology and anthropology). Relatively little work has been done on user navigation in large virtual worlds. Further research is thus appropriate, particularly in the areas of environment and tool design.
This seminar will begin by introducing the topic of navigation in electronic worlds, discussing background, definitions, and problems. We will then consider some previous research in electronic worlds, as well as some relevant research in the physical world. Particular attention will be paid to the work of Kevin Lynch and Romedi Passini on wayfinding in complex urban environments, as well as related research by Darken and Silbert on wayfinding in virtual worlds. After reviewing this work, the seminar will discuss some current research opportunities and my own plans. These plans include an investigation of how users learn and remember textual or spatial structures when navigating in virtual worlds.