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Social navigation for virtual information systems

Finding one's way about is often a social task. An example is the request for directions in a city that you visit for the first time. Introducing the concept of social navigation into virtual worlds can make an impact on access to information. Large information systems such as the World Wide Web can become more accessible by providing a more natural and fundamentally human form of navigation. This is especially important given the ever-increasing amount of information published solely on the web.

The PERSONA project is developing applications to support social navigation and four systems have been produced. One is the Agneta & Frida system, two characters that sit below the web browser commenting ironically on web pages as the user browses the web. Another is the Social Navigator, a set of developer tools that allows social navigation possibilities to be added to net-based applications. A third is the online store, EFOL, which incorporates various types of social navigation into shopping for food. Finally, the Navigational Instrument is a computer-based method for evaluating the navigational aspects of applications early on in the design process.

For companies, such tools can make their web site information and corporate databases more accessible. Imagine a crowd gathering at a web site to look at a product, asking each other for directions, asking company employees to explain certain features, etc., and all the time attracting more people to the site.

Visitors to the PERSONA stand see how social navigation can be introduced to different applications. Agneta & Frida, the Social Navigator and EFOL are concepts for use in an application, while the Navigational Instrument is used to evaluate the navigational aspects of an application at different stages.

Contact Kristina HооK, SICS
tel +46 70 561 7035 (mobile)
fax +46 8 751 7230
email Kia@sics.se
website www.sics.se/humle/projects/persona/web/index.html

 
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