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Hypertext research provides insights into many issues that are also important in the context of the WWW. However, user knowledge and expectations, technology, and the material being delivered have all changed--suggesting that many issues need be revisited. Researchers must explore the effects of media, network delays, design decisions, navigation strategies, user characteristics, and user tasks on the usability of WWW-based systems. The five articles in this special issue address some of these issues. These articles provide insights on navigation, internationalization, and WWW design for older computer users while highlighting the variety of research methodologies that can be employed as we seek a greater understanding of the issues affecting the usability of the WWW.
This special issue highlights the variety of issues being studied and research methodologies being used in an attempt to better understand the concept of usability in the context of the WWW. Providing users with appropriate information about their temporal and structural location with a WWW site, ensuring the availability of task-appropriate navigational aides, understanding internationalization in the context of the WWW, and designing for the diversity of WWW users are just a few of the areas in need of research. The articles in this special issue are based upon solid empirical research and therefore add to our understanding of what makes the WWW usable.
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