Elements of Hypermedia Design
This is a work about the technical aspects and concepts of hypermedia publishing. It's overall goal is to give guidelines on how to design usable hypermedia documents. The personal goal of the author is to pass on theoretical and pratical findings and experiences collected by himself and others in the last five years in various multimedia projects. The book covers issues and obsticles related to creating and editing usable hypermedia documents. This means, that both aspects of the term "hypermedia", namely the hypertext aspects, i.e. issues related to non-sequential text, and the multimedia aspects, i.e. issues related to multimedia authoring, are addressed. Although there is an emphasis on the Internet/WWW-side, all of the topics discussed in this book are equally relevant both for hypermedia publishing on the Web and on CD-ROM.
The hypermedia authoring process has been vividly described in a special issue of the Economist as a combination of writing a book, a play, a film, and a radio or television show. A hypermedia document combines all these elements and adds some of its own. The author's first job is to structure and explain all of the information. The author then must distill the information into brief, descriptive nodes. Each node has to contain a list of the ingredients, and instructions on how the ingredients are mixed together to the greatest advantage. The structure of the material provided is translated into an architectural metaphor of some kind; much of the designer's work is the creation of this imaginary space. Then, the designers must chart the details of what to animate, what to film, who to interview, and how to arrange the information in the space to be built. (Adapted from [Eco95]).
It is the goal of this book to present guidelines, tools and techniques for prospective authors such that they can design better usable hypermedia documents and applications. The book tries to convey an overall approach to hypermedia design.
When designing a hypermedia product, three different design elements are considered: content, structure, and presentation. This book addresses all three elements: (1) It gives in-depth coverage to how to structure information for optimal navigation and access. (2) It describes how to present and visualize complex concepts by introducing the reader to algorithm animation. (3) It also outlines a novel approach for authoring and editing of multimedia contents. And finally, it illustrates how these three design elements can be put together to publish user-friendly hypermedia documents.The book consists of four parts:
Original contributions of this book are in four areas:
- I--Structuring Information
After a careful introduction into information retrieval, user modeling and the world wide web, part I introduces the seven concepts for navigation in cyberspace: linking, searching, sequentialization, hierarchy, similarity, mapping, and agents, and discusses a broad palette of existing systems, tools, and techniques to implement these concepts.
Part II introduces a rarely mentioned aspect of visualization, namely algorithm animation, a concept that has been around for some decades, but has only sporadically been used outside of the computer science domain. Using algorithm animation to its best offers an author a unique way to explain complex concepts that are very hard to convey by other means.
- III--Multimedia Editing
Until now, most of the digital multimedia authoring tools are based upon visual, easy-to-use direct-manipulation interfaces. Part III describes a complementary language-based multimedia authoring system called VideoScheme that melds the common direct-manipulation interface with a programming language enhanced to manipulate digital audio and video.
- IV--Hypermedia Publishing
Part IV puts together the elements of hypermedia design by discussing aspects of hypermedia publishing. As an exemplary application covering many facets of the hypermedia creation and authoring process, issues and obstacles encountered while producing a series of multimedia conference proceedings are introduced.
- The cybertoolset introduced in part I provides a unequaled collection of tools and mechanisms for the visual exploration and the structuring of large information spaces.
- The Animated Algorithms system presented in part II proposes a tightly integrated hypermedia learning environment of high educational value as well as a novel approach for algorithm animation based on scripting.
- The VideoScheme system in part III offers an combination of direct-manipulation and programming language-based editing that implements a highly flexible testbed for the automation as well as exploration of new algorithms in the field of multimedia authoring.
- Part IV introduces a series of highly sophisticated and tightly integrated hypermedia applications that uniquely combine different media types to achieve a system where the sum is bigger than its parts.
- Professionals who want to build usable hypermedia documents:
- Information systems designers
- Designers of complex Web sites
- Multimedia interface designers
- CD-ROM developers
- Designers of infotainment systems
- Educational multimedia designers
- Computer sciences researchers who want to get an extremely broad overview in the fields "information exploration, navigation in cyberspace, hypermedia interface design, multimedia publishing, algorith animation and visualization".
- Student textbook for an advanced undergraduate or graduate course about hypermedia and.or multimedia for the parts "navigation in cyberspace" and "multimedia interface design". (field tested in courses "hypermedia application development" at the University of Zurich, short courses about algorithm animation and Internet applcation development at Dartmouth College).