University of Oulu

The use of 3D interface elements and applications on web pages

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Author: Väänänen, Anu1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, Department of Information Processing Science, Information Processing Science
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.6 MB)
Pages: 63
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : A. Väänänen, 2014
Publish Date: 2014-06-02
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Rajanen, Mikko
Reviewer: Rajanen, Mikko
Lappalainen, Jouni
The use of 3D graphics on the web has been limited by several factors, such as the inadequate quality of the 3D web graphics and the inability of the different web browsers to support the different 3D technologies. The development of modern web browsers, 3D technologies and standards that do not demand the use of plug-ins, such as HTML5 and WebGL, have facilitated the use and development of 3D web applications. Although 3D web applications have been used in several fields, such as gaming, education and commerce, these applications and virtual realities are not common. The aim of this study was to analyze how widespread the use of 3D interface elements and applications is currently on websites, both in general and on certain subsections, and to determine factors that may influence the popularity of these elements. Random samples of 100 websites from five different categories (general, Finnish, commercial, scientific, and entertainment) were selected for this study based on the previous prevalence of 3D applications in these fields, and they were analyzed with content analysis by concentrating on the purpose of these elements and certain features related to the acceptance and functionality of 3D elements, such as the plug-ins or software required by the technology on the end user’s computer, and the compatibility of these elements with different selected web browsers. As the results of this study demonstrated, the use of 3D elements is still limited and in most of the studied categories they were used on less than 7% of the websites, as only the games and entertainment related websites had a higher percentage of 3D usage (17%). Most of the 3D elements present on the websites were separate single-user 3D applications that could be divided into games, design programs, and educational and scientific applications. Individual 3D models were also included for educational or commercial purposes, but integrated 3D interface elements were not commonly used on the studied websites. The popularity of the 3D elements could be affected by the lack of standardization and still increasing number of different technologies used to create the 3D elements and the varying plug-in support these technologies have on different browsers, since the majority of the technologies demand the use of plug-ins. Although 3D use was quite limited, there were some factors that could affect positively the decision to use 3D elements among the service providers. Some of the 3D applications had a simple, ready-made platform for the desired purpose and the effort of building a new interface may be avoided by using these. In some cases, such as with games, the use of 3D was well-established and it may be expected instead of the 2D imagery. There may also be a greater motivation to include 3D applications on the website, if there is a pre-existing 3D based service to move online.
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Copyright information: © Anu Väänänen, 2014. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.