Group Crumb: Sharing Web Navigation by Visualizing Group Traces on the Web
Although the sharing of Web navigation experiences can be useful, it is not supported by contemporary browsers. The Web has been constructed along the lines of a spatial metaphor, but with a flaw of not being able to share navigation experiences, that is, group traces, as is possible in a physical space. This paper shows that from the viewpoint of Information Foraging Theory, sharing Web navigation experiences among group members can increase their information foraging performance. To verify this, a simple prototype, the Group Crumb Prototype (GCP), has been designed. The GCP visualizes group Web traces by altering the appearance of links on a Web page according to their Group Crumb Scents, which are calculated from the recentness and times of group navigations to corresponding links. A longitudinal user study has been conducted to compare user performance and experience when surfing the Web with and without the aid of the GCP. Results show that making group navigation traces available on Web pages to group members increases their Web information foraging performance, promotes group collaboration, and enhances their Web browsing user experience as well.