The EXPO you have visited is an experiment in creating hypermedia documents. The common ground on EXPO is a kind of 'Real World Look & Feel' (RWL&F). It varies in amount of RWL&F over the various exhibits. The strongest is EXPO itself. It has a map, a book store, shuttle buses, a ticket office. Next in line is the Vatican exhibit, which gives you the feeling of being there (but suffers a bit from being developed first). The others are in order, the Soviet exhibit, the 1492 exhibit and the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit.

The idea is that this might help you to remember places where you have been and help you to navigate. Memorizing the names of documents you have seen can be difficult, but for some people it helps if they can visualize it (e.g., you probably do remember that you have been in the Main Hall of the Vatican exhibit and maybe have found the hidden room, but you would not have remembered the name of af2bdlit.html). Navigation is easier because you know from the fact that the document is referenced as book store, what you can expect from the document, even without actually following the link; if we would have an EXPO cinema, than that would be clear too. Of course, the Navigation is also improved because you remember that you have been at the book store.

Choosing good names for documents might help (we often used names selected by other people and choosen for easy archiving), but not everybody will look at them. Using hypertext like have a look HERE as seen in many other documents didn't seem a very good approach. That is the reason why RWL&F seems to work.

The four exhibits differ in their degree of RWL&F for several reasons. One is that we expect feedback from users like you, telling us what method in which exhibit they liked the best (varying from full RWL&F of EXPO to almost none in the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit; it has a library, where you return the scrolls to, but the items are presented on separate pages (a kind of library card system). We hope that you will tell us where you found yourself in trouble while navigating (keeping in mind, for example, that the Vatican exhibit is huge, while the soviet exhibit is only a two story building). The other reason is that Jeff and Frans differ in their opinion about RWL&F.

It is already obvious that some people like it and some don't. Some will use the data for looking up essential information (give me all the info on the city of Rome), while others will use it more like an exhibit. Some will simply browse it and read some text only if they find a particular object attractive. People might loose interest if pages only contain text. Some people will like some nifty comment dropped on a page, while others want the information straight from the menu.

Tell us your opinion, help us and other hypermedia creators learn from it, so we can improve. Please send some mail, or annotate the bulletin board.

Thank you for your support.

Frans van Hoesel (
Jeff Barry (