Designing Online Thesauri. Interaction, Interface, Information Design and Case Studies

In this work, I analyzed online thesauri through interaction, interface and information design aspects and proposed new interaction schemes and a unique user interface to create a new form of online thesaurus. My aim was to re-evaluate the usage and benefits that a digital thesaurus could offer by taking into consideration new technologies. This way, I aimed to explore the design space of a thesaurus that could respond to contemporary demands and situations. I worked on the transformation of the printed vocabularies into screen-based online versions and examined its effects on the usability and language learning process. I analyzed three online thesauri from interaction, interface and information design perspective and made comparisons with a printed thesaurus in terms of interaction elements and visual layout.

I tried to identify the differences between the visual signs that direct the user’s attention during reading in both printed and screen-based interfaces. I conducted this analysis following Tufte’s theories on data and information visualization. In addition, I examined the screen-based interface elements of the thesauri and tried to demonstrate the usability problems through the guidelines proposed by Nielsen.

At the end of this analysis, I proposed a screen-based user interface model for an online social thesaurus by taking into consideration the related design issues and usability problems I encountered during the research.



Below you can find sketches of the user interface model proposed in the thesis for an online italian monolingual vocabulary. I used ItalWordNet as thesaurus database: These sketches demonstrate a design approach for a model that would keep both visible and accessible the fundamental parts of a thesaurus. These parts tend to have low visibility or priority, and be spatially reduced in online dictionaries.

Ahmet Börütecene. 2011. Progettazione di thesauri online. Interaction, Interface, Information Design e case studies (Unpublished master thesis). Bologna University, Bologna, Italy.