Shape of information, a summary

Andrew Dillon's work on digital genres, the web, and the shape of information is some of the most exciting research I've come across in the field of navigation. He has investigated how we can use our familiarity with genres to navigate, how navigation of information is different than navigation in physical space, and that creating navigation is essentially about creating meaning, not just road signs. And he manages to do this while retaining essentially a top-down perspective, not succumbing to a focus on merely organizing content. He doesn't go as far as addressing larger user experience issues head on, but he positions his work in a way that acknowledges those issues.

If you have access to JASIS past issues, a good starting point is Spatial-Semantics: How Users Derive Shape from Information Space (JASIS. 51(6):521528, 2000). Otherwise download "It's the journey and the destination" (PDF) where he questions the difference between navigation and content... 'while physical navigation might be neatly divorced from the purpose of the journey, interactions with digital documents are not so easily divided. The purpose of moving though the information space is frequently the same purpose as the journey, to reach an end point of comprehension - and in this case the journey is the destination.'

Here's my short form raw notes, which aren't necessarily helpful to anyone else until I do something with them...

Thursday, October 23, 2003 | Permalink | Filed in Web Navigation


Dreyfuss Mobile Phone

Survey of Web Genres

Doblin's Short, Grandiose Theory

Marsupial Mouse

Search method seeds

Volunteering pays


Headline! Radio buttons originally controlled radios

Cost and Style

Litmus test for scent/meaning

Shifting information goals

Theory: EBay as Flea Market

Teaching in Sound Bites