The amount of information available for any realistic complex situation is likely to overwhelm most users, as well as stymie any designer tasked with presenting the information. Providing large amounts of information in a coherent and usable format remains an unresolved problem. Choosing, structuring, formatting, and displaying information to allow easy access and to facilitate understanding are critical issues for effective design. To build an effective design that addresses complex information needs, one must look at research from psychology, sociology, human computer interaction, and technical communication, and develop a complete picture of the situation.
This book develops a foundation for analysis and design of the approaches to providing complex information in real-world situations. Author Michael Albers takes the view that the content of the information system is the most important component. As such, this volume presents the analysis that needs to be done before the interface is designed and before content is created. It strives to provide clear understanding of how the user thinks and what the user needs, so interface operation, content, and presentation can maximize their respective potentials in communicating with a user.
This volume is intended for technical communicators, human-computer interaction designers, and information designers. It will also be useful for system designers and researchers, and those studying adaptive hypertext and related topics.
Table of Contents
Contents: Preface. Introduction. Complex Situations. User Goals. Information Needs. People. System. Process for Addressing Complex Situations. Conclusion. Appendix: Creating a Visual Model.
"Michael J. Albers' book, Communication of Complex Information: User Goals and Information Needs for Dynamic Web Information, could not have come along at a better time. Communication of Complex Information introduces a much-needed theoretical foundation and cohesive approach that should inform the ways in which information designers address the complex challenges presented by online systems. ... Communication of Complex Information is meticulously researched and highly interdisciplinary, including material from a variety of disciplines. ... Albers' theoretical model is a significant and important contribution to technical communication research and literature that is, with our experience of online environments, moving away from static document models and metaphors to highly dynamic, complex information systems."
—IEEE Transactions of Professional Communication
"The examples in the book are one of its strengths. Communication of Complex Information offers a comprehensive treatment that yields a complete picture of the major concerns and an understanding that will allow them to apply Albers' ideas to their own projects."