We have studied viewing sessions for an exhibit of social science projects, for 3 populations, dominated by school and university students, adults, and social science students, respectively. Though social science students spent the most time and viewed most pages, they selected both fewer projects and detail pages than adult museum visitors, indicating index set review and interest selection.
Our visitors spent, on average, about 1 minute viewing 7 pages on less than 2 topics. Session length in time and page number varied from 4 to 103 seconds and 3 to 36 pages, increasing with the age and topic 'nearness' of the viewer. Index placement dominated topic selection for all groups, while use of embedded links appears related to familiarity with hypermedia presentations.
In conclusion, we would advise that hypermedia exhibits be organized as short theme presentations and that indexes be ordered by theme importance.
This project has been part of the celebration activities for the 50th anniversary of the University of Bergen and the 25th anniversary of the School of Social Sciences. Thanks are extended to staff, faculty, and students of the Bergen Museum, School of Social Science, and the Department of Information Science for their help in the construction and test of the electronic exhibits. Special thanks are extended to Professor Svein Nordbotten for all project support.
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