How Experienced Users Avoid Getting Lost in Large Display Networks
This article provides a cognitive analysis of how people navigate in the computer medium. As the complexity of computerized information systems increases, interface designers face the formidable challenge of supporting navigation within these systems to allow users to quickly obtain relevant information. Instead of focusing on the comparison of a small subset of proposed techniques for aiding navigation, this study investigates how people handle navigation within the natural context of a familiar computer environment and reveals cognitive processes that can be better supported to aid navigation. The results of a field study and a field experiment converge to support previous navigation-related theories and contribute to a pattern of navigation behavior that has been noticed in domains like anesthesiology and nuclear power. This article describes the characteristics of the computer medium that influence people's ability to navigate, discusses typical navigation problems that arise in this medium, and describes how designers can aid navigation, based on an analysis of how computer users change their behavior and adapt to computer systems to overcome navigation-related problems.