When I am travelling through a system of links I do like having a sense of how the information has been organised. I like knowing where I have been and where I can go. Putting all of this sort of information within a page can cause severe clutter. Yet, I find having a sense of the inter-relationships amongst documents important to my understanding of them. This understanding even inspires me to make new connections. As such I appreciate those systems that make navigation structures overt and separate from the viewing of content. Again, Hyperwave provided such a facility with their early browsers. Even more interesting is the work being done with Pad++.
Pad++ lets users of their software glide through apparently three dimensional space. From a position of overview users can see how documents are connected with one another. From a slightly closer position users can get a sense of the content on each page. Finally, a user can zoom up to fill their entire screen with the content for close reading and viewing.
Currently, Pad++ dictates the arrangements of links and pages. However, with my development of multi-linear stories I need to be able to control this arrangement in order to represent how sections of plot are related to one another. Some stories are about making parallels such as amongst the lives of three people. Some stories are about the decisions we make and how they can create distinctly different or surprisingly similar outcomes. Still other stories are about how our lives are intertwined. These and other possibilities I want to make readily apparent to my readers.
I am also interested in efficiently charting several distinct ways through overlapping material. Ted Nelson's ZigZag (http://www.xanadu.net/zigzag/) provides for that possiblity.
Copyright © 1999 Katherine Phelps