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Re: Visualisation rather than text

From: Anne Pemberton <apembert@crosslink.net>
Date: Thu, 26 Oct 2000 17:59:26 -0700
Message-Id: <>
To: "Paul Bohman" <paulb@cpd2.usu.edu>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

	I visited the webbrain site again today, and had a rather different
experience. Yesterday I went to Home, to Family, to Children, to Education
and hit garbage ... today when I went from Home to Family, Children was
gone and the best next link was Kids, from which there was a School Zone
link. This is one step less than yesterday, and the results were decent.
Perhaps yesterday I hit a redundency to an older version that wasn't all
the way corrected ... guessing...

     Yesterday when I looked at the site, I couldn't perceive a reason for
the lines ... after reading your note, I looked more carefully, and saw the
connection, but still don't know how one is to use them. I did notice that
if I had written the categories, I wouldn't have put both Games and
Recreation on the top level, and I would have put Education in the top level. 

     Also, I noticed today, that the screen, tho very short, scrolls
sideways quite a ways. Yesterday nothing clued me that this was possible,
so I missed it... 

	Again, returning to the offerings for education, there was no way for a
student to search for information for a specific subject, if the site was
to be used by a student. The presentation precluded any search for a topic,
such as, say Christopher Columbus... 

	The search engine felt very limiting in use. I don't see that I'd have
much use for it. Download time seemed long both days, and I usually don't
mind download times ... 

	If he's up to it tonight, I'll get my husband to give it a try when he
gets home and see what he makes of it.

	As I said before, there are many variables in how various "brains" work,
and in this diversity there is room for many possibilities ... no one is a


At 10:09 AM 10/26/00 -0600, Paul Bohman wrote:
>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,
>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
>> 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
>> 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
>> >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
Anne L. Pemberton
Enabling Support Foundation
Received on Thursday, 26 October 2000 17:12:53 UTC

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