hypertext, multimedia and the world-wide web
Experiment with HyperCard or another hypertext system
if you have access to one. As you work through the
system, draw a map of the links and connections. Is
it clear where you are and where you can get to at
any point? If not, how could this be improved?
This is an experimental exercise which
requires access to a hypertext system. It can be used
as the basis for a practical class, in which students
analyze the effectiveness of the system.
Drawing the map has two purposes: one
is to reinforce the overall structure of the hypertext;
the other is to test the navigational support that
is available. Whether it is sufficient will depend
on the system under scrutiny, but possible improvements
would be to provide an explicit map, escape buttons,
explicit paths to core material. The system may of
course incorporate such features.
Do the same for this book's website and tell
us what you think!
What factors are likely to delay the widespread use
of video in interfaces? What applications could benefit
most from its use?
Some of the factors are the costs in
terms of hardware and software for compression and
decompression; the slow speed due to the high bandwidth;
the overall cost of equipment (for example, camera,
video, CD); the lack of design tools to exploit video;
the lack of specialist skills amongst designers. Many
applications have been suggested as candidates for
the integration of video. Educational systems, games
and help systems are liable to benefit since information
can be passed more clearly and memorably and new dimensions
added. Other areas such as virtual reality can use
video together with graphics in the creation of their
artificial worlds. CSCW systems can use video to provide
a face-to-face communication link between distributed
workers (see Chapters 14 and 19). However, although
these appear to be areas where video has a promising
future, its use needs to be carefully considered and
its consequences investigated. It may be that it will
not fulfil its initial promise.
Using a graphics package such as Adobe
Photoshop or Macromedia Fireworks, save
different types of image (photographs, line drawings,
text) in different formats (GIF, JPEG, PNG). Compare
the file sizes of the different formats, experimenting
with different compression ratios (where applicable),
numbers of colours, etc.