In a Strange Land

modelling and understanding cyberspace

Alan Dix

Lancaster University, vfridge and aQtive

Talk for Austrian Computer Society (OCG) symposium on "Human-Computer Interaction in the 21st Century". OCG, Graz, Austria, 13th January 2001

download full paper (PDF, 114KB) or slides (PPT, 4.5MB) or slides as HTML

Full reference:

A. Dix (2000). In a Strange Land: modelling and understanding cyberspace.
Symposium "Human-Computer Interaction in the 21st Century". OCG, Graz, Austria, 13th January 2001

URL for related work:


This paper begins with a long-term view of the development of cyberspace. This includes a brief examination of the worldview of a 16th-century mapmaker and over 4000 years of development from the early massive bureaucracies of Babylon and Egypt to the current day. This discussion shows that cyberspace is becoming an everyday experience and we need to design tools to help people navigate electronic spaces and methods to design the structure of those spaces. The paper moves on to look at the changing face of user interfaces from the business-oriented 'one man and his machine' view of the 1980s to a rich interplay of multiple people interacting with multiple devices often at home or at leisure. Coping with such a radically different world requires general design principles and the latter part of the paper considers various very broad design principles and issues and their applications in HCI and in cyberspace design.

keywords: : cyberspace, interface design, maps, navigation, e-commerce.

Alan Dix 31/1/2001