Beyond the 'Back' Button: Issues of Page Representation and Organisation in Graphical Web Navigation Tools

Cockburn, A. and Greenberg, S. (1999)
Beyond the 'Back' Button: Issues of Page Representation and Organisation in Graphical Web Navigation Tools. Research report 1999-640-03, Dept of Computer Science, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

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Abstract

Although the 'Back' button is good for revisiting very recently seen pages on the world-wide web, its recency and stack-based model makes it inefficient for navigating back to distant pages. The limitations of 'Back' have motivated researchers and developers to investigate graphical aids for web browsing. This paper examines the design and usability issues in two fundamental questions that all graphical tools for web-navigation must address: First, how can individual pages be represented to best support page identification?; and second, what display organisation schemes can be used to enhance the visualisation of large sets of previously visited pages? Our webView graphical browsing system, which interacts with unaltered versions of Netscape Navigator, demonstrates new interface techniques for page representation and display organisation. WebView's page identification techniques included zoomable thumbnail images and a dogears metaphor that offers a light-weight mechanism for bookmarking. Its display is organised using an integrated hybrid of three techniques: hub-and-spoke, which models the user's navigation within a site; site-maps, which model navigation between sites; and temporal organisation, which provides a recency ordered list of the visited sites.

Bibtex entry

@TECHREPORT { 1999-BeyondBack.Report99-640-03,
CLASS = { REPORT },
AUTHOR = { Cockburn, A. and Greenberg, S. },
TITLE = { Beyond the 'Back' Button: Issues of Page Representation and Organisation in Graphical Web Navigation Tools },
INSTITUTION = { Dept of Computer Science, University of Calgary },
ADDRESS = { Calgary, Alberta, Canada },
YEAR = { 1999 },
NUMBER = { 1999-640-03 },
}