Navigation in Textual Virtual Environments using a City Metaphor
by Andreas Dieberger
thesis researches the possibility to support navigation in computer
systems with a user interface based on a city metaphor. The task of
navigation is reviewed both in real environments and in computer
systems, which are seen as virtual environments. Navigation essentially
is an activity in space. Therefore the thesis starts with areview of
the psychology of spatial perception and spatial memory. The city
environment is looked at in more detail and the work of Kevin Lynch and
other influential city-planners is reviewed. This review describes
properties of the city environment which are important for navigating a
virtual environment based on a city metaphor.
environments and principles of modern user interfaces are described.
Spatialized user interfaces are a promising special case of modern user
interfaces because humans use spatial organizing principles in their
daily lives, are used to navigate space and to communicate easily about
space. The city environment forms the basis for a novel spatial user
interface metaphor - the Information City metaphor. This metaphor
enhances the city metaphor with various "magic features" which provide
navigational functionality not available in real cities.
virtual environments are virtual environments that are based entirely
on textual descriptions. An example of such environments are networked
adventure games commonly played on the Internet. These environments use
city metaphors to support navigation and commonly make use of magic
features like planned for the Information City. These environment are
the ideal research ground to research magic features in a virtual city.
A study about navigation in such environments is described. Results
from this work can b used to improve text-based virtual environments
including a text-based implementation of the Information City metaphor.
Please find information on PhD in progress in the staff section