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"Alain D.M.G. Vaillancourt" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Alain D.M.G. Vaillancourt
Wed, 16 Jun 1999 10:59:39 -0400
text/plain (44 lines)
Louise Penberthy wrote:

> Massimo Fiorentino wrote:
> > I agree. If we have to get further into this discussion, we need to
> > figure out a definition for this concept, so we have a fair chance of
> > understanding each other. Just so we don't move away from the essence.
> > Strangely, this reminds me more and more of the problems that the nuclear
> > physicists have had when trying to explain what goes on in the subatomic
> > levels of physics - it comes down to "the eye of the beholder". Heh.
> > Well. May I be so rude to suggest the definition?

This reminds me of how at times Albert Einstein was at a loss for words from the
visual bag when having to explain some niceties of higher level Physics to lay
persons.  He would now and then grab into the tactile or haptic bag to express
his thoughts.  More recently Ingrid Daubchies did the same when explaining her
wavelets (a refinement of Fourier transforms) to a science reporter.  I mention
this as an introduction to what is coming further on.

> > Pthew. Well, if we agree upon this definition we surely can state two
> > things:
> > 1. It again, depends on the specific site, and the specific user (which
> > most of our work do)
> > 2. Using both good information architecture and good visual information
> > design creates a better mental map for the user

If only because most users have and use a mouse as they explore the web and
create mental maps, there is some amount  of tactile and haptic information
inserted along with the visual information in the mental map.  This, of course is
more apparent when we create a mental map of an actual physical vehicle trip.
Along with the visual information we insert memories of the g force of some
turns, steep hills, sudden acceleration and the rest.  The forces and memories
involved are much smaller when we only have a keyboard to generate them, but they
are there nonetheless and should be taken into account.

Au revoir!

Alain Vaillancourt
Universite de Montreal