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Hierarchical organization of pages allows the user to see the context, while exploring further details lower in the hierarchy. Although syntactic information structure on the WWW is an arbitrary graph, presenting the information in a hierarchy can help users in their information seeking activities. While hierarchical organization might facilitate navigation, it can also give users a sense of location in the information structure.

When browsing a large information structure, users might want to keep multiple levels of contexts on the screen at the same time. This might help users in their navigational strategy by greatly reducing the need to back up, and also lessens a possible disorientation. In the Elastic Windows browser users can also follow more than one trail at the same time. Selecting another link from any page starts a new trail.

The Elastic Windows browser allows users to restructure the information on the screen with efficient multi-window operations. Thus, grouping, filtering, and restructuring of information can be done efficiently.

Users can create groupings of pages, that are originally in different locations in the authored information structure. This allows users to gather interesting related information and operate on them as a group.

When presented with many pieces of information, users typically desire to filter out uninteresting ones. This allows users to have a better focus on the interesting pieces of information by giving them more screen space.

The structure of the information on the World-Wide Web is authored by individuals or groups of designers. Designers enforce a structure on the information by providing links between pages and pieces of information within a single page that indicate a certain relationship among information units. This structure guides the users in browsing the information and affects their navigational strategy directly.

However, the authored structure may not always match the structure desired by the users browsing the information for some tasks. Users with different backgrounds browse information with a variety of goals and browsing strategies. Besides, in browsing goals are not well-defined and they may change based on the information collected. Changes in goals may necessitate changes to the structure of the information. Facilities that allow users to change the information structure efficiently might help them perform their tasks by reorganizing the screen space.

In the Elastic Windows browser, a hierarchy of pages can be copied from and moved to different locations in the structure with efficient multi-window operations. Once the copy (move) operation is selected from the window menu, the cursor shape changes to indicate the operation. Then, clicking on the new location copies (moves) the selected hierarchy of pages to their new location.

Restructuring of visited pages and being able to save this structure allows users to use their personalized structure in later sessions. Users might find these pages not only using the hierarchical structure but also recalling their spatial and visual characteristics.

Scaling of contents coupled with the automatic packing feature makes the Elastic Windows browser spatially-scalable. Users can add more and more pages without degrading the screen space utilization. However, more training might be needed for effective usage.

next up previous
Next: Scenario Up: World-Wide Web Browser Previous: Design

Eser Kandogan
Sun Sep 13 18:34:46 EDT 1998

Web Accessibility