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What is the "right" way of representing "PathsInHypermedia"?
Definitions of "right"
- effective (but effective for what? computers or people?)
- intuitive (but intuitive for whom? oldtimers or newcomers)
- natural (making use of the viewer's inbuilt predispositions, or of the natural affordances of the wiki)
- efficient (from a coding perspective, an analytic perspective, or from the perspective of a busy and attention-limited user)
There has not been enough work done in devising and evaluating rightness re the human/newcomer's inbuilt perecptual predispositions.
- Arrows and Boxes (technically obvious but perceptually disorienting because right angles and parallel lines are easy to confuse)
- Spikes (as in TouchGraph)and Boxes (spikes eliminate the extraneous elements in arrows and make the direction of movement clear at every point, not just at the end)
- Curves and Ovals (splines are technically difficult but they can be used to create intuitive trajectories for the eye to follow)
- Branches and Leaves (500M years of evolution, and the fact that our nervous systems were evolved to cope with these structures might be telling us something)
- Others, e.g., http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/plants/plantaesy.html
- Matrices (a Linker vs Linkee matrix captures the entire structure (but not the layout) of a graph. Good for a computer; usually bad for a person.
The disciplines of GraphTheory? and GraphLayout? deal with these issues, but I repeat:
"There has not been enough work done in devising and evaluating rightness re the human/newcomer's inbuilt perceptual predispositions." --JonSchull