Toward Modeling Contextual Information in Web Navigation

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the process of assessing relevance (‘information scent’) of screen objects to user’s goals. Recent research shows that users decisions are based not only on the assessed relevance of the currently available screen objects, but also on relevance of objects that were encountered in earlier steps of the navigation session. We propose the concept of ‘path adequacy’, that is the semantic relevance of a navigation path, to be used in augmenting an existing cognitive model of web navigation. It is argued, based on theories and models of text comprehension, that path adequacy models the role of contextual information in assessing the relevance of incoming information. Then, we show that the augmented model is able to simulate some aspects of task execution and generate navigation support. The generated navigation support had a positive impact on users’ performance in realistic web navigation tasks. Finally, some aspects regarding the validity of the proposed model and its practical relevance are discussed.


This paper was presented at the XXVII Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, Stresa, Italy, July 21-23, 2005.

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