When location information undermines navigation

Does Location Come for Free?The Effects of Navigation Aids on Location Learning by Carl Gutwin and Diana Anton; Technical report HCI-TR-06-03.

Navigation aids such as bookmarks, target prediction, or history mechanisms help users find desired objects in visual workspaces. They work by highlighting objects that may be important, and they can improve performance in spaces where the territory is not well known. However, by making navigation easier, they may also hinder acquisition of a mental map of the space, reducing navigation performance when the navigation aid is not available. We carried out a study to determine the effects of three different types of navigation aids on spatial location learning. We found that after training with a navigation aid, there was no reduction in performance when the aid was removed. Even with training interfaces that made the task significantly easier, people learned the locations as well as those who had no aid at all in training. These results suggest that designers can use navigation aids to assist inexperienced users, without compromising the eventual acquisition of a spatial map.

Why do I blog this? this is interesting to my research since I also encounters similar results: by providing different location information, there was some undermining results concerning, not navigation, but collaborative partners' navigation memory. And this, with a very different setting since it was pervasive computing.