Multi-model adaptive spatial hypertext



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Texas A&M University


Information delivery on the Web often relies on general purpose Web pages that require the reader to adapt to them. This limitation is addressed by approaches such as spatial hypermedia and adaptive hypermedia. Spatial hypermedia augments the representation power of hypermedia and adaptive hypermedia explores the automatic modification of the presentation according to user needs. This dissertation merges these two approaches, combining the augmented expressiveness of spatial hypermedia with the flexibility of adaptive hypermedia. This dissertation presents the Multi-model Adaptive Spatial Hypermedia framework (MASH). This framework provides the theoretical grounding for the augmentation of spatial hypermedia with dynamic and adaptive functionality and, based on their functionality, classifies systems as generative, interactive, dynamic or adaptive spatial hypermedia. Regarding adaptive hypermedia, MASH proposes the use of multiple independent models that guide the adaptation of the presentation in response to multiple relevant factors. The framework is composed of four parts: a general system architecture, a definition of the fundamental concepts in spatial hypermedia, an ontological classification of the adaptation strategies, and the philosophy of conflict management that addresses the issue of multiple independent models providing contradicting adaptation suggestions. From a practical perspective, this dissertation produced WARP, the first MASH-based system. WARP?s novel features include spatial transclusion links as an alternative to navigational linking, behaviors supporting dynamic spatial hypermedia, and personal annotations to spatial hypermedia. WARP validates the feasibility of the multi-model adaptive spatial hypermedia and allows the exploration of other approaches such as Web-based spatial hypermedia, distributed spatial hypermedia, and interoperability issues between spatial hypermedia systems. In order to validate the approach, a user study comparing non-adaptive to adaptive spatial hypertext was conducted. The study included novice and advanced users and produced qualitative and quantitative results. Qualitative results revealed the emergence of reading behaviors intrinsic to spatial hypermedia. Users moved and modified the objects in order to compare and group objects and to keep track of what had been read. Quantitative results confirmed the benefits of adaptation and indicated a possible synergy between adaptation and expertise. In addition, the study created the largest spatial hypertext to date in terms of textual content.