Re: Is Hypertext More Productive?

Subject: Re: Is Hypertext More Productive?
From: Andreas Ramos <andreas -at- NETCOM -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 24 Mar 1994 12:22:51 -0800

I remember back in Denmark when Denmark's Apple director came back from
Boston, where Apple had just spent a fortune in presenting hypertext to
its top people.
We asked him to explain it, and he said that despite several days of
presentation, he had no idea of what it was or what it could be used for!

I still find it confusing to cruise around in a hypertext document; one
never feels that one has totally grasped the total amount of information,
that things may be lurking somewhere, because of some odd (highly
personal) categorizing by the author. (similar to what someone wrote
several days ago: think like bill gates thinks (rocking back and forth)
and think only in objects.)(poor wife! I'm gonna send her the Cure's
"object, object, You're just an object!" song.)

In the same way that readers approach a text in many different ways, a
hypertext will also mean different things. It'll depend on the education
level, the ability of the reader to comprehend and grasp complex
presentation styles, etc. I read manuals and text books by first reading
the table of contents very carefully and "mapping out" the information
before going into the forest. I wonder if anyone else does that. Perhaps
that's why I don't like hypertext; i'd rather see a map first, instead of
starting in with the trees.

Andreas Ramos, M.A. Heidelberg Sacramento, California

On Thu, 24 Mar 1994, Legislative Serv Ctr wrote:

> Saul--

> Another interesting question, with numerous kinds of answers.
> As you've seen in the literature, lots of people are breathlessly
> excited about hypertext but not always concerned about objective
> data. The more impartial observers certainly hedge their remarks
> about the *automatic* superiority of one medium over another.
> I'd talk with neutral usability testers like Ginny Redish, Phil
> Rubens, Judy Ramey (U. of WA), Patricia Sullivan (Purdue), and
> Mary Dieli (Microsoft's usability manager).

> Here's a short list of more likely articles culled from several
> hundred addressing the topic. You've probably skimmed
> through the books and proceedings--the stuff listed here is more
> fugitive and harder to track.

> Barfield Woodrow, Mark Haselkorn, Catherine Westbrook;
> Information Retrieval with a Printed User's Manual and with
> Online Hypercard Help; Technical Communication; 37.1 Feb.
> 1990 22-27

> Boyle Craig and Kelly Ratliff; A Survey and Classification of
> Hypertext Documentation Systems; IEEE Tr. on Prof. Comm.;
> 35.2 June 1992 98-111

> Brooks Randy M.; Principles for Effective Hypermedia Design;
> Technical Communication; 40.3 Aug. 1993 422-28

> Girill T. R. and Clement H. Luk; Hierarchical Search Support
> for Hypertext On-line Documentation; Intl. J. of Man-Machine
> Studs.; 36.4 Ap. 1992 571-85

> Grice Roger A. and Lenore S. Ridgway; Usability and
> Hypermedia: Toward a Set of Usability Criteria and Measures;
> Technical Communication; 40.3 Aug. 1993 429-37

> Horton William; Is Hypertext the Best Way to Document Your
> Product?; Technical Communication; 38.1 Feb. 1991 20-32, 35

> Humphreys Donald S.; Making Your Hypertext Interface Usable;
> Technical Communication; 40.4 Nov. 1993 754-61

> Isakson Carol S. and Jan H. Spyridakis; The Comprehensibility
> of Linear versus Nonlinear Documents (in Technical
> Communication's Toolbox Proceedings); STC Region 7; 3 1990
> 107-11

> Maurer Hermann and Ivan Tomek; Broadening the Scope of
> Hypermedia Principles; Hypermedia; 2.3 1990 201-20

> Nelson Bruce C. and Thomas J. Smith; User Interaction with
> Maintenance Info. ... Hypertext Versus Hard Copy Formats;
> Proc. of the Human Factors Soc.; 34 1990 1.229-33

> Nielsen Jakob; The Art of Navigating Through Hypertext;
> Comms. of the ACM; 33.3 Mar. 1990 296-310

> Rada Roy and Clare Murphy; Searching Versus Browsing in
> Hypertext; Hypermedia; 4.1 1992 1-30

> Rockley Ann; Creating Online Documentation with the Aid of
> Hypertext; Intercom; 38.3 Oct. 1992 8-9

> Rubens Philip; Reading and Employing Tech. Info. in Hypertext;
> Technical Communication; 38.1 Feb. 1991 36-40

> Yours in cyberspace,

> Avon Murphy
> WA Legislative Service Center
> 2404 Chandler Court SW
> Olympia, WA 98502
> 206-786-7052
> amurphy -at- wln -dot- com

> On Thu, 24 Mar 1994 MSTSACX -at- GSUVM1 -dot- BITNET wrote:

> > Does anyone have conclusive research indicating that hypertext is more
> > productive to use than paper documents?
> >
> > A literature search is turning up dry.
> >
> > Thanks!
> >
> > cc: 71702.1>--compuse>
> >
> > "
> > Saul Carliner Ph.D. Student
> > Instructional Technology Geo. State Univ.
> > Note new userid----> mstsacx -at- gsuvm1 -dot- gsu -dot- edu 404/892-3945

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