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Web Navigation Systems for Information Seeking

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This chapter will present an evaluation framework to examine major web navigation systems from a human information behavior and user interface perspective. The framework focuses on content structure and ease-of-access, two of the most important features of web navigation systems. The advantages and weaknesses of each type of web navigation system will be discussed. The framework is expected to provide a more complete picture and a more structured analysis of web navigation user interface designs from a web information seeking perspective. Last we will discuss some future directions of web navigation designs influenced by the mobile computing trend.
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7KHPanuscript is DWWDFKHG for information only
To cite:
Zheng, G. (2015). Web Navigation Systems for Information Seeking. In M. Khosrow-
Pour (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Information Science and Technology, Third Edition
(pp. 7693-7701). Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference.
More information:
Web Navigation System Designs for Information Seeking
Guangzhi Zheng
Southern Polytechnic State University, USA
Web browser is used as the major tool for information seeking on the Internet today. However,
because of the vast information space on the Web, people often feel entangled and disoriented when
overloaded with massive amount of information, a problem often referred to as “getting lost” (Lazar,
Bessiere, Ceaparu, Robinson, & Shneiderman, 2003; Levene, 2010; Nah & Davis, 2002). They tend to
lose sense of location, direction, and context (Head, Archer, & Yuan, 2000), especially when there is
minimum assistance provided. Common causes of getting lost include unfamiliarity of the website design,
difficulty to locate information due to deeply buried information, and isolated information (i.e.
Information Island) without any linkage to related information. Users often reported frustration when
“getting lost” (Lazar et al., 2003).
Web navigation systems provide assistance to guide users in the web information space. A good
navigation system can ease the problem of getting lost and improve information seeking effectiveness.
Common navigation tools include menu, sitemap, navigation trail, etc. Navigation is also a key factor of
web usability (Palmer, 2002) which studies the ease-of-use of web applications and interfaces. Web
usability guidelines are usually used by web developers then they design web navigation systems.
This chapter will present an evaluation framework to examine major web navigation systems
from a human information behavior and user interface perspective. The framework focuses on content
structure and ease-of-access, two of the most important features of web navigation systems. The
advantages and weaknesses of each type of web navigation system will be discussed. The framework is
expected to provide a more complete picture and a more structured analysis of web navigation user
interface designs from a web information seeking perspective. Last we will discuss some future directions
of web navigation designs influenced by the mobile computing trend.
Information seeking is a human activity with a goal of obtaining information. Being a subset of
the human information behavior field, it is particularly concerned with methods people employ to
discover and gain access to information resources (Wilson, 1999). Web information seeking is
information seeking in the World Wide Web environment using a browser as the major user interface.
Compared to other software environments, web is a much larger and more complex environment with
massive information and complex interlinking structures. This poses even more problems for users to find
the information they want.
There are basically two generic tactics to seek information on the web: querying and navigation.
Querying, or searching, is the process of “submitting a description of the object (for instance, keywords)
to a search engine which will return relevant content or information (Jul & Furnas, 1997). Navigation, or
browsing, is the action of moving oneself around an environment in an order, deciding at each step
where to go next based on the task and the parts of the environment seen so far (Jul & Furnas, 1997).
Users use these two tactics together to obtain information on the web. The choice of searching or
browsing depends on factors like task type, web site design, user preference, and skill (Nielsen, 2013).
While searching has drawn more attention for the past a few years, navigation is still a fundamental way,
and even the “last mile”, of getting useful information. For example, users still need to navigate through
searching results to evaluate the relevance and usefulness of them.
Zheng, G. (2015). Web Navigation Systems for Information Seeking. In M. Khosrow-Pour (Ed.), Encyclopedia of
Information Science and Technology, Third Edition (pp. 7693-7701). Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference.
The Web has become very large and complex. It is getting more difficult if people just rely on
their intuition and follow embedded hyperlinks to locate information resources. Web navigation systems
are commonly provided to guide users through the web information space. The major goal of a web
navigation system is to present an effective content index or guide and support various web navigation
behaviors. It allows users to approach an abstract information space in a similar way as they travel in a
physical space (Juvina, 2006). Good navigation systems not only make information easier to find and
allow users to acquire more useful information, but also contribute to the overall website success.
Traditional web navigation system designs focus on web usability, as navigation is considered to
be one of the important factors to measure web usability (Palmer, 2002). A major consideration in web
usability and web navigation design is to avoid getting lost. Getting lost is a common problem in an
abstract and complex information space like the Web. The theory of human information processing
(Miller, 1956) suggests that when navigating, a user tries to construct a structure map of the information
space and a navigation path in mind. The structure and contents of information spaces are mentally
represented and manipulated during Web navigation sessions (Juvina, 2006). This information is stored in
short term memory which has limited capacity. As the user is browsing and reading content, he/she will
have difficulty in memorizing that structure. When the structure of information vanishes from the short
term memory, he/she tends to get lost. To relieve memory overload and avoid getting lost, web usability
studies suggest several guidelines (Danielson, 2002; Fang & Holsapple, 2011; Nielsen & Loranger, 2006;
Palmer, 2002; H. Zhang & Salvendy, 2001): 1) visualizing the structure of information space; 2)
providing easy and flexible access to the navigational information; 3) providing context cues and
navigation trace or history; 4) behaving consistently; 5) keeping the navigation system itself simple but
meaningful. These usability studies and guidelines indeed have a positive impact on designing web
navigation systems.
Web Navigation Systems: Content Structure and Ease-of-Access
Evaluation framework
Human information behavior studies show that the most important features of a navigation
system are visualizing website and content structures to users and providing easy access (Danielson,
2002; Nielsen, 2008; H. Zhang & Salvendy, 2001). Based on these two features, a 2 dimensional mapping
framework is developed to categorize and assess major navigation systems. Figure 1 shows the
framework diagram with some typical web navigation systems.
The framework is arranged as a two-dimensional positioning map with two axes representing the
two features mentioned above. The first dimension (horizontal axis) is how much structure information a
navigation system provides to a user when he/she is visiting a particular site or page. On one end, the
complete structure can be presented. A typical example is a sitemap (Pilgrim, 2007), which is like a
detailed table of contents of a book. On the other end, only partial information is presented or no structure
is presented at all, such as quick links or browsing history. The second dimension (vertical axis) is how
easy a user accesses or views the navigation tool and information. On one end, it can stay in-sight all the
time without extra computer operations to interact with. On the other end, it can be visually separated and
stay out-of-sight, and needs additional actions to be presented. For example, a site map is usually
designed in a separate webpage and linked from the homepage. So an HTML site map presents a
complete structure but offers completely separate access.
Figure 1: A Framework to Characterize Web Navigation Systems
(with some typical examples)
We use this framework to evaluate and discuss major navigation tools and systems used today.
The discussion is further organized into two sub sections which represent two basic types of navigation
systems (Levene, 2010): 1) website-provided navigations: these are designed and provided by individual
websites or applications which are usually part of the website and are rendered together with other HTML
page content by browsers; 2) browser-integrated navigation systems: these are either built-in components
or add-ons of browsers. In practice, more than one navigation systems can be used at the same time to
achieve the best result.
Website-provided navigation systems
The most common type of structural navigation system is global navigation (Adkisson, 2005) or
global menu. A global menu is the main navigation tool provided to show a website’s major sections and
is displayed on every webpage. It follows a sequential menu design (Zaphiris, Shneiderman, &
Norman, 2002) in which it normally provides links to a site’s top level sections, and sublevel menus can
be accessed only on a subsection of the website with only peer-level items (also called local menus or
local navigations). A global menu usually stays at the top (as a horizontal bar) or left (as a vertical bar or
side bar) of a web page. If not in a fixed screen position, it will be out of sight if the page is long and
scrolled to the page bottom. The single level menu or sequential menu design does not provide a complete
structure view at a time, and only have limited number of links without resorting to sub-navigations. This
kind of navigation system can provide a simple and direct guidance for users to go to the next immediate
major subsection, but it requires significant more steps to reach deeper level content. It is usually used for
simple websites without hierarchies; or it can be used for big websites in which top level sections are
relatively independent, and horizontal navigation between sections is not likely to happen (usually called
a hub-and-spoke navigation behavior).
There are two directions to complement the sequential global menu and both have become
popular for the past a few years. First, more complete structure can be incorporated into a single menu
system. This is called a multi-level navigation menu, also called structure preview design (H. Zhang &
Salvendy, 2001) or expandable menu/indexes (Zaphiris et al., 2002). Common implementations and
styles include dropdown menu (for horizontal menus at the top), fly-out menu (for vertical menus at left
How much structure
is presented?
How the access to the
structure is provided?
Separate access
easy access
A normal page-top drop
down or fly-out menu
Sitemap page
Mega menu
Floating/fixed position or sticky
Tree menu in a fixed
side panel or frame
Sitemap Explorer or
standard sitemap
Fat footer
A fixed position
global menu
Tag cloud
or right), drop-up or pop-up menu (at the page bottom), multi-level navigation bar, accordion menu, tree
menu, mega menu, fat footer, HTML sitemap page, breadcrumb, etc. These designs are similar in that
they are all able to provide access to multiple levels of a hierarchical structure. But in practice, these
systems do have differences, and even the same type may have inconsistent designs and behaviors on
different websites. Table 1 summarizes the features of these navigation systems in terms of structure and
Table 1: Major Multi-level Navigation Menu Designs
Description and
Drop down
Provides complete hierarchical
structure with mouse-over or click
actions; have limited number of
top level links.
Not easy to access a deep level
menu item; usually do not
show items at all levels at the
same time; cannot access peer
level sections directly (must
start from the top level links
every time); provides
minimum context cues. The
consistency of interaction may
be a problem; can easily be
used with a fixed position
design to make it stay in sight
all the time.
Fly-out menu
Provides complete hierarchical
structure with mouse-over or click
actions; may have more top level
An alternative to the drop down
menu but is position at page
navigation bar
or double tab
Provides complete hierarchical
structure with mouse-over or click
Provides access to peer level
links; can display items at all
levels at the same time; easy
to provide context cues; may
support more complex
Usually provides two levels of a
hierarchical structure.
Tree menu
Provides the most complete
hierarchical structure.
Provides a complete structural
trace and context cues.
Can be used together with
drop-downs to view peer items
in any level; can be
customized at a fixed position.
Mega menu
or fat menu
(Buckler, 2009)
Like a dropdown menu, but it
holds significantly more content of
different levels and types (often in
multiple columns), almost like a
partial page.
Like a dropdown menu, it
needs mouse actions to show
more structures; structures will
hide when not used as it takes
a large portion of the screen.
Fat footer or
sitemap footer
Provides more structure
information but commonly used
for secondary navigation.
To compensate the large area
it occupies, it is usually placed
at the bottom of the page; has
to scroll down to the page
bottom to see the menu.
Usually uses a complete page with
sufficient viewing area to display
the complete structure.
On a separate sitemap web
page; users need to navigate
back and forth between the
sitemap page and content
pages; does not provide
context cues.
Second, the navigation system can be designed to stay in-sight all the time for easy access. There
are a number of options to deliver this feature. First, a floating menu, also called a fixed position menu or
sticky menu (Denney, 2012), is at a fixed position on the screen (can be top, bottom, or side) no matter
where a user scrolls the page to. Second, a side panel that always stays in-sight can be used to hold
navigational information. The two options above are usually achieved by using Cascading Style Sheet or
JavaScript. Last, frames are also used to make structures stay in sight all the time. A side panel or a frame
can also offer a constant sitemap design, which not only presents the complete structure to users, but also
will stay in sight all the time. Constant site map users show more information seeking confidence and
effectiveness (Danielson, 2002). A common example is the folder explorer in many web based email
systems like GMail or Yahoo Mail. Because this navigation aid always stays in sight, it occupies a certain
space of the screen, so the space for viewing content is impacted. One way to mitigate this is to add a size
adjustment feature or a hiding feature (manual or auto), so it can be brought up or hidden through a mouse
hovering or clicking action when a user needs it.
Other navigation systems are usually used as secondary navigations and are usually provided for
convenience. For example, many graphical or visualization based navigation systems occupy a pretty
large region of the screen, such as cluster view (Rástocný, Tvarozek, & Bieliková, 2011), tag cloud
(Sinclair & Cardew-Hall, 2008), carousel menu, thumbnails, and relationship map. And many non-
structural navigation systems are used for specific purposes and typically do not provide structural
navigation, such as quick links, related links (Verma, Patel, & Abhari, 2009), step navigation, pagination,
and continuous scrolling.
There are a number of inherent limitations of these website-provided navigation systems. The
biggest issue is the inconsistency across websites. Consistency is one of the important aspects of usability
in user interfaces (Nielson 1999). It helps a website to behave as expected, match a user’s mental model,
and minimize guess work (Nielsen & Loranger, 2006). However, cross-site consistency can only be
promoted, but cannot be guaranteed. Navigation systems on different websites are quite different in terms
of position, sequence, interaction style, animation, etc. For example, styling techniques and complex
scripting are often used to boost utility and aesthetics, but the ways they are implemented are not always
consistent across websites. These differences create adapting difficulties for normal users (Silver & Ward,
2004). They don’t like to be “forced to learn a special way of doing things(Nielsen, 2008). Even well
designed navigation systems cannot fully address this problem.
Browser-integrated web navigation systems
One approach to ensure cross-site consistency is to integrate navigation systems to the web
browser itself (Nielsen, 2008). Browser-integrated navigation systems have a number of advantages if
implemented well:
Navigation consistency. These systems are part of the browser which is independent to any
website, thus they offer consistent interfaces and interaction modes to a particular user. This is
particularly useful for users to visit unfamiliar and complex websites.
Easy and flexible access. The browser built-ins and add-ons can be easily displayed, hidden, and
manipulated. It can always stay in sight when a user needs it without extra programming and
styling techniques. When a user is familiar with a website, he/she can choose to use the
navigation system provided by the website. When he/she is not familiar with a website, then
he/she may use browser components to interact with the website.
Personalization and customization. Personalization is a common expectation for the purpose of
ease-of-use (Blom & Monk, 2003). But personalization of navigation is largely missing in current
website designs. A personalized navigation can provide a comfortable and enjoyable way of web
information seeking. Browser components can be flexibly customized to a user’s behaviors and
needs, in terms of size, position, visualization style, interaction model, etc., without excessive
user tracking techniques.
However, existing standard browser-integrated navigation systems have not realized these
advantages particularly for structural web navigation (Head et al., 2000; Lazar et al., 2003; Silver &
Ward, 2004). For example, browsers usually have back and forward buttons to assist navigation, but these
two buttons often interfere with a website’s own navigation system. Browsers also provide bookmark and
history functions with easy access, which is useful for quick access, but they lack structure viewing and
context cues. Bookmark tools also need manual organization and management.
Realizing the deficiencies of standard browser built-in navigation tools, many people developed
browser add-ons to enhance the web navigation capability of browsers. MEMOS (Head et al., 2000)
utilized a separate window to improve the use of navigation history. Personalized Indexing (Lin, 2004)
and multiple categorization (Quan, Bakshi, Huynh, & Karger, 2003) both utilized a browser component to
index and categorize web pages. Side bar also used in navigation of search results, such as OutRide
(Pitkow et al., 2002), Lycos Side Search, and HotBot Desktop Toolbar. There are also systems that
specifically handle structural information. Parallel browsing (Xu, Yu, Zhao, Liu, & Shi, 2013) split the
browser window into two parts and provide views of two pages independently (and one page can be the
sitemap page). iCab ( captures structural links in the toolbar and displays peer level
sections. Standard sitemap navigator ( and Sitemap Explorer (Zheng, 2013) are two
emerging navigation systems that are specifically designed to provide easy access to sitemaps in a
consistent and rich interaction model. Both systems feature an interactive sitemap client as a browser side
panel (or other UI components) and XML based sitemap files. They also provide standard commands for
information seeking behaviors such as moving up/down a level, expanding/collapsing a level, searching
within the structure file, etc.
Browser-integrated navigation systems, except for a few standard navigation functions, have not
yet gained wide popularity. This is largely due to the fact that the use of such a navigation system requires
separate download and installation, which has been problematic in the past due to privacy and security
Future Trends
Web has continued to develop for the past 20 years, and the navigation has been and will continue
to be a key aspect. There are two major opportunities the development of web navigation: 1) maturity and
advancement of browser-integrated navigation systems, and 2) navigation systems adaptation for mobile
First, despite of their advantages, browser-integrated navigation systems which provide structural
navigation are still at the research stage. None of these systems has become a standard built-in component
of mainstream browsers. Being distributed as add-ons significantly limits their wide adoption and usage.
A potential driving force to change the situation is likely a more open and feature-rich standard format of
XML sitemap protocol. A number of existing formats can be used to define sitemap content because of
their similarities to organize hierarchical information, such as RSS/ATOM (web feeds and publishing
protocols), OPML (Outline Processing Markup Language), standard sitemap protocol (standard-, and Sitemaps Protocol ( However, each of them has its own limitations.
RSS/Atom is most widely used, but it is mainly for news feeds, and the structure is fairly simple. OPML
is also simple but has not achieved wide adoption yet. The protocol was developed from an
information retrieval or search perspective and it is not used for user interactions (Wilde, 2008). Standard
Sitemap Protocol is user navigation oriented but mainly supports pure hierarchical structures. It may not
be completely suitable for all web content structures and user-oriented navigation activities, and it does
not support advanced features like multiple categorization, content relevancy, and collaborative filtering.
Utility tools to generate and maintain such sitemaps should also be ready if the protocol expects to attract
more users.
In addition, personal information management (PIM) functionalities can be enhanced in
navigation systems. Current sitemap designs are static and lack editability and manageability. A browser
component provides unprecedented potential for users to customize and manage their navigations. PIM
features become technically easy in client based navigation UIs, such as bookmarking, sorting, user
annotation, organization, categorization, sharing, searching, editing, importing/exporting, indexing,
import and export, filtering, zooming, etc.
Second, the latest mobile computing trend also brings a change to web site and application
designs. Two notable differences are 1) smaller and varied screen size and 2) touch oriented interactions.
Both have brought noticeable changes to web navigation systems and designs. For example, the
traditional dominance of top and left position navigation is gradually shifted to bottom (and right)
position to accommodate the convenience of one hand operation. More complex navigation systems such
as tree menus also need adaptation on mobile devices to improve user performance (Adipat, Zhang, &
Zhou, 2011). There have been increasing practices toward improving web browsing on mobile devices,
but the research field is still at its early stage, and many issues remain unresolved (D. Zhang & Lai,
2011). We will continue to see more navigation system adaptation techniques or even specific mobile web
navigation systems in the future.
Web navigation is an important part of web information seeking and web usability. The design of
a web navigation system directly contributes to the overall user experience of a web site and application.
There are many navigation systems and designs to choose from and each has its own advantages and
weaknesses. To have a complete picture of various navigation systems, this chapter provides a perceptual
map to understand their features from an information behavior and user interface perspective. Using the
two dimensions of content structure and ease-to-access, the chapter summarized and evaluated major
website-provided HTML-based navigation systems as well as commonly used browser-integrated
navigation systems. The framework can also be very useful when choosing and designing a navigation
system for a website or web application.
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Additional readings
1. Morville, P., & Rosenfeld L. (2006). Information Architecture for the World Wide Web.
Sebastopol, CA: O'Reilly Media.
2. Kalbach, J. (2007). Designing Web Navigation: Optimizing the User Experience.
Sebastopol, CA: O'Reilly Media.
3. Wodtke, C., & Govella, A. (2009). Information Architecture: Blueprints for the Web (2nd
Edition). Berkeley, CA: New Riders.
4. Vora, P. (2009). Web Application Design Patterns. Burlington, MA: Morgan Kaufmann.
5. Levene, M. (2010). An Introduction to Search Engines and Web Navigation (2nd ed.).
Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
6. Tidwell, J. (2011). Designing Interfaces. Sebastopol, CA: O'Reilly Media.
7. Neil, T. (2012). Mobile Design Pattern Gallery: UI Patterns for Mobile Applications.
Sebastopol, CA: O'Reilly Media.
Journals, magazines, and other media
1. Smashing Magazine. Retrieved from
2. Journal of IA. Retrieved from
3. Information Research. Retrieved from
4. Six Revisions. Retrieved from
5. Nielsen Norman Group. Retrieved from
Tutorials and articles
1. Miller, E. (2014). Five Rules of Effective Website Navigation Design. Graphic
Design. Retrieved May 2, 2014, from
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Retrieved from
3. Maggie. (2012). A Responsive Design Approach for Navigation. Retrieved from
4. Hixon, J. (2012). Progressive And Responsive Navigation. Retrieved from
Navigation patterns and examples
1. UI Patterns. (2014). Design patterns: Navigation. Retrieved from http://ui-
2. Frost, B. (2012). Responsive Navigation Patterns. Retrieved from
3. Frost, B. (2012). Complex Navigation Patterns for Responsive Design. Retrieved from
4. Mesker, M. (2012). Scalable Navigation Patterns in Responsive Web Design. Retrieved from
5. Welie, M. van. (2014). Pattern Library. Retrieved from
6. Quince. (2014). Navigation Patterns. Retrieved from$tag=Navigation
7. The Smashing Editorial. (2012). Web Design Navigation Showcases. Retrieved from
8. Muller, G. (2012). 21 Examples of Fixed Position Menus in Web Design. Retrieved from
Key terms and definitions
Information behavior: a class of human behaviors to interact with information.
Information seeking: a type of human behavior of obtaining information to satisfy information
Browser integrated web navigation: navigating web sites and information through a user
interface component integrated with browsers.
Sitemap: a structured document that describes the content structure of a web information space.
Sitemap webpage: a sitemap presented in a human readable HTML web page.
Web navigation: the process of visiting information resources following a certain sequence in the
web environment using a browser.
Web navigation system: a user interface tool that provides navigational information and support
web navigation behaviors.
Web usability: application of usability in the Web environment using browsers.
... Typically, most studies that examine the factors of web presence of Internet media pay special attention to the role of an efficient organization of the information archi-tecture and navigation system [15] [20] [29] [33]. Web navigation retains leadership in the number of mentions in studies on usability and user-interface interaction [11] [25] [26]. ...
... The tendency for this among older adults results from declines in cognitive abilities -working memory, perception speed, and spatial perception [20]. Other reasons have also included unfamiliarity with the website, difficulty in locating information, and isolated information without any links to relate information [21]. Difficulties in retaining information could also contribute, as reported in [22]. ...
Conference Paper
Living independently is of great importance to older adults, and technology is seen as a potential enabler of independent living. Nonetheless, factors related to ageing may contribute to difficulties in using technology. In particular, we are interested in online grocery shopping, for its potential to overcome some of the physical barriers to food shopping. One of the difficulties discussed in the literature is web navigation, that is, older adults often feel lost or disoriented as they navigate websites. Hence, we propose a study to investigate older adults' navigation in an online grocery shopping site. This paper discusses the methods proposed which are an analysis of existing online grocery sites, and user observations and interviews. Thirty participants aged 65 years or older with or without online shopping or online grocery shopping experience are to be included in the study. The participants will be asked to perform grocery shopping based on a pre-determined shopping list whilst the shopping activities are recorded. Following the observation, an interview will be conducted to gain a deeper understanding of the shopping actions. Video and audio data will be analysed using content analysis for the navigation strategies used, route decisions, completeness and completion time. An insight into older adults' navigation through the website and problems experienced may provide valuable input for web design that could support better navigation for this population.
The COVID-19 pandemic caused changes in our living styles severely after 2019 and has accelerated the shift towards a more cyber world. The recent online consumer survey showed that changes in online shopping behaviors are likely to have lasting effects. This study examined the different cultural comparisons of the navigation of website menu and product category layers on e-commerce websites. Our findings indicated that the menu of the Western e-commerce website is more layers than the East Asian website did (H1) through usability testing. In addition, participants spent more time on Western e-commerce websites than on East Asian e-commerce websites did (H2). This research provided a prospective insight for cross-border e-commerce that customized the website menu presentation when worldwide consumers visited them cross-culturally.
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A fundamental issue is still not addressed in current web navigation designs is the consistency of navigation models across different websites. In addition, almost all of the current designs are static and passive; users have to adapt their navigation behaviors to each model and follow it all the time on a particular website. This research presents a new browser integrated web navigation model which features a browser add-on called Sitemap Explorer to dynamically discover and load sitemap files and visualize them to users in a model of their own choices. The solution provides a consistent and personalizable client interface for the complex and unpredictable web, and offers rich functionalities and flexibility for users to easily manage and adapt web navigation to their needs. For more information, visit
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Information seeking on the Web has become day-to-day routine for more than two billion human beings most of who use traditional keyword-based search engines. Developers of these search engines stress personalization, prediction of users' next actions and mistake correction. But they are still struggling with results presentation and support for users, who make atypical queries or who do not exactly know what they are looking for. We address these issues via a novel approach for exploring web repositories, which naturally combines user search activities - look up, learning and investigation. We achieve this via view-based navigation in hierarchical clusters and two-dimensional graphs of search results.
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This paper presents an outline of models of information seeking and other aspects of information behaviour, showing the relationship between communication and information behaviour in general with information seeking and information searching in information retrieval systems. It is suggested that these models address issues at various levels of information behaviour and that they can be related by envisaging a 'nesting' of models. It is also suggested that, within both information seeking research and information searching research, alternative models address similar issues in related ways and that the models are complementary rather than conflicting. Finally, an alternative, problem-solving model is presented, which, it is suggested, provides a basis for relating the models in appropriate research strategies.
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One of the challenges confronting website designers is to provide e ffective navigational support. Supplemental navigation tools such as search, indexes and sitemaps are frequently included on web sites. However, due to a lack of guidance for designers a proliferation of designs has evolved over time. Trends in design don't appear to be underpinned by any empirically sound and theoretically based user-focused research, instead design has been led by technological innovation rather than user needs. This paper investigates the key factors in the design of sitemaps. A taxonomy that provides a segregation of design issues into major components is proposed. The paper applies the taxonomy in a longitudinal survey of commercial sitemaps exposing several trends in design practice. The intention of this taxonomy and survey is to provide a sounder basis for future research and development of sitemap tools by clarifying existing research and identifying important issues for future investigation.
Ever notice that-in spite of their pervasiveness-designing web applications is still challenging? While their benefits motivate their creation, there are no well-established guidelines for design. This often results in inconsistent behaviors and appearances, even among web applications created by the same company. Design patterns for web applications, similar in concept to those for web sites and software design, offer an effective solution. In Web Application Design Patterns, Pawan Vora documents design patterns for web applications by not only identifying design solutions for user interaction problems, but also by examining the rationale for their effectiveness, and by presenting how they should be applied. • Design interfaces faster, with a better rationale for the solutions you choose. • Learn from over more than 100 patterns, with extensive annotation on use and extension. • Take a short-cut into understanding the industry with more than 500 full-color screenshots and a web site for help, discussion, and a collection of additional patterns.
Conference Paper
Parallel web browsing describes the behavior where users visit web pages in multiple concurrent threads. Qualitative studies have observed this activity being performed with multiple browser windows or tabs. However, these solutions are not satisfying since a large amount of time is wasted on switch among windows and tabs. In this paper, we propose the multiple-page view to facilitate parallel web browsing. Specifically, we provide users with the experience of visiting multiple web pages in one browser window and tab with extensions of prevalent desktop web browsers. Through user study and survey, we found that 2-4 pages within the window size were preferred for multiple-page view in spite of the diverse screen sizes and resolutions. Analytical results of logs from the user study also showed an improvement of 26.3% in users' efficiency of performing parallel web browsing tasks, compared to traditional browsing with multiple windows or tabs.
In 2000, Jakob Nielsen, the world's leading expert on Web usability, published a book that changed how people think about the Web-Designing Web Usability (New Riders). Many applauded. A few jeered. But everyone listened. The best-selling usability guru is back and has revisited his classic guide, joined forces with Web usability consultant Hoa Loranger, and created an updated companion book that covers the essential changes to the Web and usability today. Prioritizing Web Usability is the guide for anyone who wants to take their Web site(s) to next level and make usability a priority! Through the authors' wisdom, experience, and hundreds of real-world user tests and contemporary Web site critiques, you'll learn about site design, user experience and usability testing, navigation and search capabilities, old guidelines and prioritizing usability issues, page design and layout, content design, and more!
Three linked qualitative studies were performed to investigate why people choose to personalize the appearance of their PCs and mobile phones and what effects personalization has on their subsequent perception of those devices. The 1st study involved 35 frequent Internet users in a 2-stage procedure. In the 1st phase they were taught to personalize a commercial Web portal and then a recommendation system, both of which they used in the subsequent few days. In the 2nd phase they were allocated to 1 of 7 discussion groups to talk about their experiences with these 2 applications. Transcripts of the discussion groups were coded using grounded theory analysis techniques to derive a theory of personalization of appearance that identifies (a) user-dependent, system-dependent, and contextual dispositions; and (b) cognitive, social, and emotional effects. The 2nd study concentrated on mobile phones and a different user group. Three groups of Finnish high school students discussed the personalization of their mobile phones. Transcripts of these discussions were coded using the categories derived from the 1st study and some small refinements were made to the theory in the light of what was said. Some additional categories were added; otherwise, the theory was supported. In addition, 3 independent coders, naive to the theory, analyzed the transcripts of 1 discussion group each. A high degree of agreement with the investigators' coding was demonstrated. In the 3rd study, a heterogeneous sample of 8 people who used the Internet for leisure purposes were visited in their homes. The degree to which they had personalized their PCs was found to be well predicted by the dispositions in the theory. Design implications of the theory are discussed.