Mental maps and structural cues – navigation in hypertext

map-oliwia-blawat-hypertext-based-art

Hypertext was born in the mind of the individual user as the network of connections and can be described using many different metaphors. These linkages created in our imagination can be interpreted and displayed with many metaphors that come from the real world and reflect the complex structure of the information from the books and the Web. We can go even further and say that all the information coming to our mind, thanks to selective data compression and impulses that come to our brain, creates psychological hypertext.

In the virtual world of the WWW there are hyperlinks to create a network of interactive virtual communication.

One of the most frequently used translations and metaphors of hypertext is a mental map which is an effect of the inspiration by geography maps.

In the world of net art Jodi.org use Google Maps that inspired them to create the net art project: http://geogeo.jodi.org/. This work consists of drawing objects on existing city maps. It is a redefinition of the map, an interpretation of the real space in the virtual world with the use of software. This metaphor of the map creates in our minds new points of view, abstract and decentralized. It is a kind of psychological hypertext, not traditional but metaphorical. By drawing on the satelite image of streets, artists create new points of reference and linkage between the virtual and real.

Mental maps have numerous links, landmarks and central points from which arises a more detailed image with environmental relations. The space of hypertextual information consists of multiple structures created with links and based on data.

The lack of mental map influences the journey much longer. In the opinion of many researchers and scientists, without the mental map the majority of users return to the main menu when they make an error, instead of seeking the point where they made the mistake.

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