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Foundation for Coast Guard History

Waypoints: Comparative Analysis

Introduction

"Meaningful and stable categories help searchers explore and understand large result sets. (hcil/umd)"

The Waypoints project was initiated as a final project for a Master's program in Information Management and Systems. When the project began, one of our goals was to develop a user interface which provided customers with an experience similar to walking through an art museum. Our design revolves around the idea that faceted (browsing) hierarchies facilitate content exploration. This concept has been explored by researchers and digital libraries, some of which have implemented designs using searchable hierarchies. As such, our competitive evaluation focuses on those systems that we believe have implemented design strategies we hope to employ in our interface. These include:

  • The Flamenco Search Interface Project (University of California)
  • The Charles W. Cushman Photography Collection (University of Indiana)
  • The Japanese American Relocation Digital Archive
  • MuseoSuomi (MuseumFinland)
  • The San Francisco Public Library
  • The International Children's Digital Library

    Analysis

    In lieu of design exploration, the Waypoints development team conducted an in-house comparative analysis of the systems noted above. The team began with the simple task of exploring each collection and locating content of interest. While navigating each system, "think aloud" observations were recorded. These notes are listed below along with critiques on specific screen shots for each system.

  • © Waypoints Project 2005