Quantifying Degree of Goal Directedness in Document Navigation: Application to the Evaluation of the Perspective-Drag Technique

  • Guiard Yves
  • Du Yangzhou
  • Chapuis Olivier

  • Fitts' law
  • Document navigation
  • Goal-directed behavior
  • Interactive multi-scale visualization
  • Perspective viewing
  • Task taxonomies


This article pursues a two-fold goal. First we introduce degree of goal directedness (DGD), a novel quantitative dimension for the taxonomy of navigation tasks in general. As an attempt to operationalize the DGD concept in the context of electronic documents navigation, we introduce the serial target-acquisition (STA) experimental paradigm. We suggest that DGD and the STA paradigm may usefully enrich the conceptual toolkit of HCI research for the evaluation of navigation techniques. Our second goal is to illustrate the utility of the DGD concept by showing with a concrete example, Perspective Drag, the refinement it allows in evaluating navigation techniques. We report data obtained from two experiments with the STA paradigm that cast light on what Perspective Drag is specifically good for: it is particularly suitable in realistic task contexts where navigation is less than 100% directed by its terminal goal, that is, where the user wants not only to reach a particular item but also to pick up information from the document during document traversal.