in Web Navigation

Navigation Research

A short time ago David Danielson posted a handy list of web navigation resources, and then it disappeared from the Internet. He was nice enough to send it to me, and I’m posting my own version with some of his links and some of my own:

Conceptual links trump hyperlinks
…more closely align the way Web pages link to each other with the way the concepts within Web pages relate to each other

Cognitive maps in rats and men
Whether user mental models of Web sites are spatial in nature is debatable, but Tolman’s paper is nonetheless a landmark study (no pun intended) with useful navigation concepts.

Information Seeking In Electronic Environments
All of Gary Marchionini’s book, sans figures, is online.

More at the PARC user interface research publications page.

Effective View Navigation (pdf)
In view navigation a user moves about an information structure by selecting something in the current view of the structure. This paper explores the implications of rudimentary requirements for effective view navigation, namely that, despite the vastness of an information structure, the views must be small, moving around must not take too many steps and the route to any target be must be discoverable. The analyses help rationalize existing practice, give insight into the difficulties, and suggest strategies for design.

What Do Web Users Do? An Empirical Analysis of Web Use (pdf)
This paper provides an empirical characterisation of user actions at the web browser. The study is based on an analysis of four months of logged client-side data…Among the results we show that web page revisitation is a much more prevalent activity than previously reported (approximately 81% of pages have been previously visited by the user), that most pages are visited for a surprisingly short period of time, that users maintain large (and possibly overwhelming) bookmark collections, and that there is a marked lack of commonality in the pages visited by different users.

and one anti-navigation paper:

“It’s the journey and the destination”: Shape and the emergent property of genre in evaluating digital documents (pdf)
Navigation is a limited metaphor for hypermedia and website use that potentially constrains our understanding of human-computer interaction. In the present paper we trace the emergence of the navigation metaphor and the empirical analysis of navigation measures in usability evaluation before suggesting an alternative concept to consider: shape. The shape concept affords, we argue, a richer analytic tool for considering humans’ use of digital documents and invokes social level analyses of meaning that are shared among discourse communities who both produce and consume the information resources.