Date of Award

2001

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Communications Honours

Faculty

Faculty of Communications, Health and Science

First Advisor

Dr Arshad Omari

Abstract

Virtual reality propagandists, technologists and the Internet community have long debated the issue of the usability of online three-dimensional (3D) environments. A lot of work was published about the benefits of 3D spaces for human-computer interaction and information visualisation due to their realism (Anders, Kalawsky, Crossley, Davies, McGrath, Rejman-Greene, 1998, Hamit, 1993, Heim, 1992, Aukstakalnis, Blatner, Roth, 1992). This topic also receives continuous industry support including standardisation of Virtual Reality Modeling Language ( VRML, VRML Consortium, 1997) and the more recent Macromedia & Intel alliance "to bring web 3D to the mainstream" (200 1, Intel Corporation). The actual implementation of this technology is, however, still "challenging" (McCarthy & Descartes, 1998) and minimal because "3D is too new and waiting for good design to be discovered" (Nielsen, 1998). The practical aim of this project is to fulfil the niche by creating a functional 3D interface for the access of two-dimensional (2D) information, such as text, using VRML. The theoretical aim is to contribute to further research into 3D usability by describing and analysing the design process in terms of possibilities, challenges and limitations.

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