Multimedia and Hypertext, Chapter 10: Hypertext Usability.

Multimedia and Hypertext, Chapter 10: Hypertext Usability. [15]


This chapter reviews the aspects of hypertext usability. It starts with the term "System Acceptability," reviews the usability parameters, applies them to hypertext and reviews some benchmark and non-benchmark researches.

System acceptability is the main concern and is broken down into the two parts Social Acceptability and Practical Acceptability. Social acceptability mainly deals with cultural constraints, so international usability is also an issue.

Practical acceptability includes the practical considerations, such as usability. Usability is broken down into the following points.

  • Easy to learn

  • Efficient to use

  • Easy to remember

  • Few errors

  • Subjectively pleasing

The section about Benchmark Research reviews studies about interface issues, Hypertext vs. Scrolling Text Files, Hypertext vs. Paper, Users' Subjective Judgments, Individual Differences and others.

What follows is a section about Non-Benchmark Research, such as Observing Users or Iterative Interface Refinement.

In conclusion, the main factors for usability are individual differences and the different tasks of the users. The qualitative observational studies provide additional insights and lead to improved hypertext user interfaces.

Best Things

Good selection of reviewed articles.

A critical, but not offensive, assessment of the reviewed papers.

Usability parameters mapped to hypertext context.


Extend conclusions section.

Shorter discussion of "Iterative Interface Refinement."

Question to Author

Do you think the World Wide Web as it is today is, in general, "usable?"

Article Questions

  1. What are the usability parameters?

  2. What are the two most important factors for usability stated by the author?

My Opinion

Very good article, I liked it. Many studies seem to worry about "Building the system for the users right." A product may be usable for the users we think that use it, but is it usable for the actual users too? Are we "Building the right system for the users."