I wrote my master's thesis entitled Designing Online Thesauri: Interaction, Interface and Information Design and Case Studies on online vocabularies in which I tried to analyse them through interaction, interface and information design aspects and propose new interaction schemes and a unique user interface to create a new form of online vocabulary. My aim was to re-evalaute the usage and benefits that a vocabulary could offer today taking into consideration new technological and communication components to create a vocabulary that responds to contemporary demands and situations.
I worked on the transformation of the printed vocabularies into screen-based online versions and its effects on the usability and language learning process. I analysed three online thesauri from interaction, interface and information design perspective and make comparisons with a printed thesaurus in terms of interaction and visual page elements.
I tried to identify the differences between the visual signs that direct the user’s attention during reading employed in both printed and screen-based interfaces. I carried out this analysis following Tufte’s theories on data and information visualization. In addition, I examined the screen-based interface elements of the thesauri in question and tried to demonstrate the usability problems through the guidelines proposed by Nielsen.
At the end of this analysis I proposed a screen-based user interface model for an online social vocabulary intended solely for online use taking into consideration of related design issues and usability problems I encountered during the research.
Below you can find sketches of the user interface model proposed in the thesis for an online italian monolingual vocabulary. I used ItalWordNet as vocabulary database: http://bit.ly/TkU1Wt.
These sketches demonstrate a design approach for a model that would keep visible and accessible the most fundamental parts and indispensable elements of a vocabulary which could have sometimes scarce visibility or priority and be spatially reduced in online vocabularies.
Visual Interface and Navigation Elements