Human-Computer Interaction 3e Dix, Finlay, Abowd, Beale

exercises  -  21. hypertext, multimedia and the world-wide web

EXERCISE 21.10 [extra - not in book]

The design of a multimedia system involves mapping the structure of information, and determining the links and potential pathways. Choose a subject you are interested in and know something about, and design a prototype multimedia system, (for now, focus on only a limited area of the subject). Jot down anything you can think of about the subject: facts, ideas, sources of information, people, places - the kinds of things you note down will depend on your particular subject.

Use your knowledge of task analysis, semantic networks and other knowledge representation models to help you visualize the structure of the information and the relationships between different aspects of it. Use diagrams, lists, or whatever you think appropriate to organize the material.

Decide what information to include (and what you should leave out). An understanding of the user's purposes and tasks when using the proposed system will be essential here.

You then need to apply this semantic knowledge to the detailed design. Where will your hotspots be? How will users navigate without getting 'lost in hyperspace'? Can you take advantage of the medium to ease information retrieval? (For example, unfamiliar words in a text can be linked directly to their definitions in a glossary - don't forget to provide a way of getting back to the text as well!). Does the subject matter lend itself to animation, so that the user can see things 'happening'?

As you explore the medium, new possibilities will suggest themselves; as with other systems, look at, and learn from, examples of good (and bad) practice (libraries often lend multimedia as well as books).

Consider appropriate evaluation techniques for your prototype, at what stage to use them (paper design, simulated screens, full working prototype) and whether you need to evaluate the system as a whole or focus on specific 'difficult' areas.

You can end the exercise at the design stage, or go on to implement your hypertext, as a web site, or, if you have the resources, as a multimedia application on CD.

answer available for tutors only

extended project


Other exercises in this chapter

ex.21.1 (ans), ex.21.2 (ans), ex.21.3 (ans), ex.21.4 (ans), ex.21.5 (tut), ex.21.6 (open), ex.21.7 (tut), ex.21.8 (open), ex.21.9 (open), ex.21.10 (open), ex.21.11 (tut), ex.21.12 (tut)

all exercises for this chapter


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