of Hypertext and Graphical User Interfaces

Ben Shneiderman starts Hyperties (cf. 2.1.8) as a research project at HCIL around 1983. He takes a very simplified approach in browsing the hypertext in order to attract first time users. Especially museums discover the application of hypertext to support their exhibitions. For example “King Herod’s Dream” at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in 1988 or an exhibition about the history of Holocaust at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York [Shneiderman/Kearsley 89, p. 33]. A commercial version of Hyperties runs on MS-DOS and uses just a plain text screen. No mouse is necessary to operate the program, although it is possible to click on hyperlinks if a mouse or a touch screen is present.

2.1.8 Hyperties

in Vision and Reality of Hypertext and Graphical User Interfaces

Hyperties takes a very simplified approach in browsing hypertext. The commercial version for IBM-PCs from 1987 displays each article on the entire screen. And all interactions can be performed with the arrow keys. The user moves the cursor until the link of interest is highlighted. Pressing ENTER causes a jump to the link target. Jacob Nielsen reports, that this special usage of arrow keys as jump keys is significantly faster than the same operations performed with the mouse [Nielsen 90, p. 120].

A node in Hyperties is called article. It has a title and a short description about its content. The title is used to automatically place links wherever the very same text phrase appears in other articles. [Update 2019: Several years later this concept is used by some Wikis. CamelCase words are automatically linking to a page with the same name.] This is very restricting because no other way of creating links is possible. The description is used as a preview for a link. If the user highlights a link the description is displayed at the bottom line of the screen. Most of the times this is sufficient to decide whether to jump to the link or not [Ibid., p. 89].

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