jueves, 26 de febrero de 2009

limitations of hypertext-

As hypertext systems have progressed over the past 20 years, several problems have surfaced. The main point of my video "Behind the hype" was precisely to remark these problems which are usually overwhelmed by the utopian idea of the hypertext revolution. Some of the remarkable limitations of the hypertext are:

- getting lost in the hyperspace: It is feared that readers who are used to finding their way through books with the aid of tables of contents, indexes, footnotes, and marginalia might become lost within hypertext systems. As databases grow, navigational tools such as the global map of links and documents and the history of paths taken, though complex themselves, become necessary. Several intersting studies seem to suggest that "the hypertext structure places an extra burden on the reader in terms of navigation and consequently leads to poorer performance". And with the advent of hypertext "it has become widely accepted that the departure from the so-called linear structure of paper increases the likelihood of readers or users of getting lost".

- cognitive overload: users are presented with so much information that their human circuits burst with cognitive overload. While reading through a document, choices must constantly be made about which links to follow and which to ignore. Following several paths at once may lead to the navigation problem described above.

- re-thinking several concepts: that hypertext revolution either take by granted or assume the hypertext revolution will eventually lead them to change. This is the case of big concepts like: privacy, commerce or rethorics.
Privacy matters is becoming a huge issue among one of the best-known social networks on the Internet: Facebook, as the terms of use are being constantly and highly critized by users and even by government institutions. This problem might seem an "involution", rather than a "revolution" of the hypertext (not the hypertext by itself, but a bad consequence of its development).
The e-commerce, which consists of the buying and selling of products or services over electronic systems using hypertext, has not been revolutionary in the sense it has not changed commercial relationships between user/buyer-user/seller.
At the same time, concepts such as rethorics or aesthetics haven't either been altered by the hypertext systems (the Internet has not changed the form of the written word and the motion picture), unlike some of hypertext utopian conceptions might suggest.

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