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Re: Visualisation rather than text

From: Paul Bohman <paulb@cpd2.usu.edu>
Date: Thu, 26 Oct 2000 10:09:52 -0600
Message-ID: <002e01c03f67$2ca31300$20117b81@paul>
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
The problems that you are describing are not directly related to the
innovative interface that they use. The fact that the links weren't quite
what you expected is not a reflection on their interface but on their
implementation of the database. I believe that the original question to this
mailing list was asking about the visual mode of presentation which Webrain
used, rather than the quality of the database which it accesses.

I personally found the interface rather simple to use. I understood it and
thought that the graphical lines connecting related topics was a good way of
diagraming the information. They used a spatial metaphor. I often find it
helpful to conceptualize things spatially. I'm not saying that their
interface is better than more traditional versions (e.g. the Yahoo site
accomplishes the same type of organization, without the spatial metaphor),
but, at least for me, it was just as good.

How can something like Webrain be made accessible to those who dislike (or
that cannot access) spatial metaphors? One possible solution is a simple
one: create an alternative interface using a more traditional scheme,
Yahoo-style.

There's nothing wrong with coming up with new and innovative modes of
presentation, as long as there is a fallback mechanism to present things in
a way that is still "accessible." Using spatial metaphors (not just on this
site, but in a general sense) can be very effective. It's not the only way
to present things, but this method has merit, especially for those who tend
to think spatially.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Anne Pemberton" <apembert@crosslink.net>
To: <karl.hebenstreit@gsa.gov>
Cc: <b.kelly@ukoln.ac.uk>; <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Sent: Thursday, October 26, 2000 9:01 AM
Subject: Re: Visualisation rather than text


> Karl,
>
> My problems with webbrain weren't in how it worked to duplicate my
> thinking, but because it didn't.
>
> The lack of an education category in the original presentation led me to
> take a different path to find what I wanted. When I got there, the sites
> presented didn't match the path I'd taken. After clicking on Home, the
> Family, the Kids, I had a choice of choosing Education, but the site
> provided weren't at all about kids' education, but education at the higher
> levels. Very disappointing!
>
> When minimicking how people think, it is important to remember that there
> are two distint thinking approaches - one that starts with the global and
> goes to specifics (which is how the webbrain intends to work), and one
that
> starts with specifics and goes to the general (which is how many search
> sites work with keywords, etc.) Also, you must remember that while there
> are users at either end of the spectrum, there are many in the muddy
middle
> who can use either thinking method and choose when to use each.
>
> Anne
>
> At 06:10 PM 10/25/00 -0400, karl.hebenstreit@gsa.gov wrote:
> disabilities, since this
> >interface is based on an "associative computing interface" which can
model
> >the way a person thinks about a particular task, or even the world from
> >their unique perspective.
>
> Anne L. Pemberton
> http://www.pen.k12.va.us/Pav/Academy1
> http://www.erols.com/stevepem/Homeschooling
> apembert@crosslink.net
> Enabling Support Foundation
> http://www.enabling.org
>
>
Received on Thursday, 26 October 2000 12:07:35 GMT

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