Hypertext design environments and the hypertext design process

Jocelyne Nanard, Marc Nanard
1995 Communications of the ACM  
Hypertext engineering environments can be modeled to a certain degree on software engineering development environments. For example, designing the conceptual hypertext data model and abstract navigational model [22] can benefit directly from software engineering approaches. Fundamental differences, however, make a pure transposition of techniques both difficult and inadequate. An important part of hypertext design concerns aesthetic and cognitive aspects that software engineering environments
more » ... not support. This article focuses on the hypertext 1 design task itself as a computer-supported activity. In it we provide guidelines for developers of hypermedia design environments to facilitate the user's design process. A hypertext design environment can support both formal hypermedia design techniques and the actual design process successfully. While we take advantage of object-oriented terminology to describe certain concepts, the lessons of this article apply to all formal design techniques. Thus we neither proscribe nor detail a formal design model. Instead we examine the general human-factor aspects of the design process to determine which features help designers most. We also enumerate the requirements hypermedia design environments have that other types of computer applications do not. This analysis arises from observing users and students during design tasks, and is grounded in sound and well-known results in cognitive science. It builds upon our experience in developing LIRMM's MacWeb 2 hypermedia development environment [14] [15] [16] . Dimensions of the Hypertext Design Activity One may consider hypermedia design, as with any other COMMUNICATIONS OF THE ACM August 1995/Vol. 38, No. 8 49 J o c e l y n e N a n a r d a n d M a r c N a n a r d Hypertext Design Environments and the Hypertext Design Process mproving the quality of hypermedia design and reducing its cost is an important challenge for the information industry. One way to tackle the problem is to provide hypertext designers with appropriate development environments. Hypertext engineering environments that provide sets of integrated tools boost designers' efficiency and effectiveness. 1 Hypertext and hypermedia are handled similarly in design. Both refer to organized sets of information linked by semantic relationships, and therefore are indistinguishable in this article. 2 MacWeb [14, 15] is a knowledge-based hypertext system developed at LIRMM since 1989. To avoid any confusion, note that it is unrelated to the World-Wide Web client developed later with the same name. We used the name MacWeb first (and have published articles referring to it that predate the WWW client). . Current research interests include human-computer interaction and hypermedia design. email: jna-nard@lirmm.fr; http://www.lirmm.fr/~jnanard/nanard.html MARC NANARD is Professor of Computer Science at the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers in Paris, France, and the Eureopean Vice Chair of ACM SIGLINK. Current research interests include conducting research at LIRMM in knowledge-based hypertext and hypermedia design.
doi:10.1145/208344.208347 fatcat:utn6zg4qtvhh7ixz46ik3flci4