Interfacce per fare o per navigare? #2

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L’articolo precedente Interfacce per fare o per navigare? L’articolo di Andrei Herasimchuk sul concetto di navigazione nel dibattito Hurst vs. Merholz ha generato una scia non banale di commenti e interventi. Ne riporto di seguito alcuni, nel tentativo di fornire una chiave di lettura al problema più ampia ed equilibrata possibile. Ipertesto vs. applicazione Sulla […]


L’articolo precedente Interfacce per fare o per navigare?

L’articolo di Andrei Herasimchuk sul concetto di navigazione nel dibattito Hurst vs. Merholz ha generato una scia non banale di commenti e interventi. Ne riporto di seguito alcuni, nel tentativo di fornire una chiave di lettura al problema più ampia ed equilibrata possibile.

Ipertesto vs. applicazione

Sulla difficoltà di distinguere in modo netto navigazione e contenuti o ipertesto e applicazione.

I’m not quite sure that “navigation” is a myth, and I’m not quite sure you can simply will it away by hoping so. One of JJG’s insights [see The Elemnts of User Experience] was to discriminate between the web as application and the web as hypertext. Amazon, as it currrently stands, is hypertext, which is qualitatively different than if it were, well, something else
(Peter Merholz – grassetto mio).

Many of the user testing sessions that I’ve observed seem to support this. Users tend to look in the middle of pages for something, and when they don’t find it they look to the top and left for alternate ways to accomplish their goal. They often hit global navigation at this point. In case your amazon mockup failed a user (they didn’t find what they wanted) what would you expect them to do? Quit? Would there be another way to find information? That seems to be what Peter was talking about in his rebuttal post. When the primary goals change (or the primary strategy of completing them changes), what options are left? Is some type of global navigation what is left?
(Joshua Porter – grassetto mio).

Questi risultati coincidono con quelli rilevati da Sofia Postai e Maurizio Boscarol in test di usabilità con utenti da loro condotti, e qui riportati in merito al dibattito su posizione del menu e aspettattive dell’utente.

Browsing vs. filtering

Sulla differenza fra navigazione tradizionale o browsing e sistemi di filtraggio (o zoom) a faccette, intervengono Mark Thristan e Victor.

Personally, I don’t see much of a conflict between flat hierarchical “navigation” and faceted “filtering” – each can be used to support user tasks where appropriate. It’s a case of horses for courses – of course the concept of “navigation” (which is a bit of an over-extended metaphor anyway) is too loose for all web-based interface design, but isn’t the concept of “reading” equally fluid? Don’t books and magazines make similar use of different navigation/filtering tools: TOCs, indexes, notes, event listings, pages, softbacks, hardbacks, thumbed tabs on dictionaries etc.
(Mark Thristan – grassetto mio)

Victor insiste piuttosto sul concetto di appropratezza dell’uno o dell’altro sistema che sulla loro distinzione.

Cognitively there’s a lot more going on for the user than a general page vs. application discussion does justice to. But without getting mired in details we should at least acknowledge that different tasks can be best facilitated by different interfaces. Purchasing and searching might be better done with a richer application UI, but browsing – discovering new things you can’t search for because you don’t know about – can be done well by moving from one ‘place’ (e.g. a page in a catalog) to another place (another page in the catalog). […] If Amazon required customers to drag and drop now, they’d lose a lot of sales;clicking links is easy.

A small point: it might be unfair to compare iTunes’ relatively small, homogeneous catalog with Amazon’s huge more heterogeneous catalog. The latter is trying to push a lot more information into the same small limited screen space, making necessary to use global and local navigation
(Victor – grassetto mio)

Excellently written and positioned commentary. If you haven’t yet already, you should really check out the Mozilla Amazon Browser project on mozdev. While still browser based, the application shows how new frameworks such as XUL and WSDL can be used to “free” applications from the constraints of the web page design
(Mike Beltzner).

La discussione completa The myth of navigation

03.05.2004