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Designing information-abundant websites

issues and recommendations
Erstpublikation in: International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, Vol. 47, No. 1, July, pp. 5-29
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Ben ShneidermanThe abundance of information on the World Wide Web has thrilled some, but frightened others. Improved web site design may increase usersÕ successful experiences and positive attitudes. This review of design issues identiÞes genres of web sites, goals of designers, communities of users and a spectrum of tasks. Then an Objects/Actions Interface Model is o¤ered as a way to think about designing and evaluating web sites. Finally, search and navigation improvements are described to bring consistency, comprehensibility and user control.
Von Ben Shneiderman im Text Designing information-abundant websites (1997)
Matthias DreierThe World Wide Web in 1997 was a frightening abundance of information. In this article Ben Shneiderman argues that better interface design might improve users’ attitude towards the Web. The article is based on a chapter of his book "Designing the User Interface: Strategies for Effective Human-Computer Interaction". Seven years have passed; the web is an even bigger abundance of information and more than ever lacks consistency in interaction design.
Web sites are often designed according to the originator’s identity, goals, and intentions. But as in any user-interface design, the question to address is: who are the users and what are their tasks? When creating a completely new web site assumptions about potential users should be made. The distinction between first-time, intermittent, and frequent users is very important. The users’ tasks can range from fact-finding to unstructured browsing and exploring the available information. This is very different from traditional computer tasks (e.g. word processing) where the tasks are much clearer.
Shneiderman describes the Objects/Actions Interface (OAI) model with respect to web sites. Information objects are aggregated in unstructured lists, linear structures, tables, trees, etc. Actions are, for example, looking for a name in an alphabetical list, scanning a list of articles, reading a paragraph or following a hyperlink. Unfortunately, the OAI model does not tell what information design is best suited for what user action.
The case of the Library of Congress’ web site illustrates that searching is a very important user action. A good search system indicates whether stemming, stop word elimination or other transformations have been applied. Visualisation of the search results might allow the users to visually browse and filter the results. Another important user action is navigation. Shneiderman proposes site maps and other visualisations of web sites, but he also states that visualisations can be complex and confusing.
The World Wide Web has changed a lot since 1997, but Shneiderman’s design recommendations are still helpful, for instance on how to reduce users’ disorientation or how to structure the search process. His OAI model is a useful tool to analyse user actions and to structure content. However, the model does not tell how to design the interface. From today’s point of view navigation is emphasised too much. The success of Google’s search engine has heavily influenced the way people surf the web. Consequently, few web sites have a hierarchical thesaurus, many have a site map, but almost every large web site has a search function.
Quelle: http://www.elearning-reviews.org/
Von Matthias Dreier, erfasst im Biblionetz am 22.12.2004

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KB IB clear
Jakob Nielsen, Ben Shneiderman

KB IB clear
HCI/MMI (Human-Computer-Interaction)Human-Computer-Interaction, Informationsflutinformation overflow, Informationsflut im WWW, UsabilityUsability, User Interface (Benutzerschnittstelle)User Interface, Web-Auftritt, WWW (World Wide Web)World Wide Web
Jahr  Umschlag Titel Abrufe IBOBKBLB
1987Designing the user interface (Ben Shneiderman) 3, 12, 6, 6, 8, 2, 6, 2, 3, 5, 9, 634261434
1996  local Multimedia, Hypertext und Internet (Jakob Nielsen) 14, 15, 14, 28, 23, 5, 11, 6, 3, 13, 13, 9268696892


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