This paper discusses the concept of 'intelligibility', a concept usually attributed to the design of real-world environments and suggests how it might be applied to the construction of virtual environments. In order to illustrate this concept, a 3d, online, collaborative environment, AlphaWorld, is analyzed in a manner analogous to spatial analysis techniques applied to cities in the real world. The outcome of this form of spatial analysis is that AlphaWorld appears to be highly 'intelligible' at the small-scale, 'local neighborhood' level, and yet is completely 'unintelligible' at a global level. This paper concludes with a discussion of the relevance of this finding to virtual environment design plus future research applications.
|International Journal of Design Computing
|Published - 2002