On a Web site or intranet each of the alphabetically arranged entries or subentries is hyperlinked to the page or to an anchor within a page to where the topic is discussed. Since an alphabetical index can be quite long, it is often divided into pages for each letter of the alphabet. Typically, each letter is linked at the top of the page allow a jump to the start of that letter’s section of the index.
What affects decision outcomes most is the actual context in which people make decisions. All kinds of things affect decision making—the type of decision someone is making, the decision maker’s level of expertise, the number of options available, the way and order in which options are presented, and many others. This column examines how the number of available options affects the decision-making process.
Your favorite applications have shortcut keys. So can your site, thanks to the XHTML accesskey attribute. Accesskeys make sites more accessible for people who cannot use a mouse. Unfortunately, almost no designer uses accesskeys, because, unless they View Source, most visitors can’t tell that you’ve put these nifty navigational shortcuts to work on your site. Stuart Robertson unlocks the secret of providing visible accesskey shortcuts.
Tabular representations of information can be organized so that the subject distance between adjacent columns is low, bringing related materials together. In cases where data is available on all topics, the subject distance between table columns and rows can be formally shown to be minimized. A variety of Gray codes may be used for ordering tabular rows and columns. Subject features in the Gray code may be ordered so that the coding system used is one that has a lower inter-column subject distance than with many other codes. Methods by which user preferences may be incorporated are described. The system optionally may display unrequested columns of data that are related to requested data.
One of the dirty little secrets about being an information architect is that most of us only bat .500 at best. We labor and agonize over making recommendations and designing information architectures that are supposed to change the world, but many of our designs never see the light of day. Rather than moan about why my designs were not implemented, I want to share my story.
The primary purpose of intranets is to support staff in doing their jobs, to help them complete common business tasks. In practice, however, this can be very frustrating on many intranets. Policies are located in one section, procedures in another section, and forms in a third. Information then needs to be hunted out in order to complete even simple activities. The effectiveness of intranets can be greatly enhanced by bringing together all of the information and tools relating to a task or a subject, and presenting them in a single location.
You've seen reader comments on weblogs and other Web 2.0 sites, but the Atom protocol makes it possible to create and manage such comments in a very flexible way. Flexible Web annotations is an idea that will open up an entirely new class of Web applications with very little actual new invention. Learn how to create a system to manage annotations for anything on the Web, from nearly anywhere.
XUL is a surprisingly easy way to build cross-platform browser extensions or even stand-alone applications. Discover how to build powerful, flexible Mozilla browser extensions that go beyond the capabilities of other tools like embedded scripting languages or CGI--because they're built right into the user's browser.
Many have wished for a tool that would automate the creation of XSLT stylesheets. Building the interface alone to such a tool sounds like a tough job, and getting it to output working XSLT stylesheets that accomplish non-trivial tasks also sounds challenging. However, the comfort level of nearly all computer users with basic spreadsheet software actually makes the first task simpler than it once appeared to be, and the ease with which popular spreadsheet programs now save their contents in XML means that when you start with the right spreadsheet template, an XSLT stylesheet is not difficult to create from the XML version of a spreadsheet that uses that template.
You can have all kinds of great attractions on your site, but if your visitors don't know how to get to them, they'll just collect dust on the server. Worse yet, if visitors find your site's navigation confusing or convoluted, they'll simply give up and head off to explore the rest of the Web, never to return. So, good navigation design is an essential ingredient for any successful Web site.
Several orienteering strategies - including map simplification and contact, navigating by checkpoints, rough and precise map reading, and using attack points to find the goal - have useful IA parallels. Gene Smith explores how IAs can learn from these parallel techniques and create digital spaces that are easier to navigate.
The emerging XML based web increasingly relies upon ways of presenting content in a just in time manner. Presentation technologies such as SVG and XHTML can do so, yet the power to properly harness them will likely lie in the emergent binding languages such as XBL, sXBL, and XTF. In this presentation, bindings and binding languages will be explored, illustrating how such environments as the Mozilla Firefox 1.5 browser are using XBL as a means for performing component binding into XHTML, SVG and XForms interfaces, looks at sXBL and the W3C's XBL directions, and details why such binding languages likely represent the future of XML presentation and interaction.
There is an astonishing amount of disbelief that the users of web pages have learned to scroll and that they do so regularly. Holding on to this disbelief--this myth that users won't scroll to see anything below the fold--is doing everyone a great disservice, most of all our users.
You can link to any tag within the page by quoting its ID. For example, if you have a paragraph with an ID of "intro", then you can link directly to that point without having to insert a bookmark.
Web design is under attack. Our enemy is a dangerous meme known as reductionism. This devious adversary is spreading the notion that we can fully understand Web sites as a combination of simpler components, and that we can break the process of design into lots of quick steps and clearly defined deliverables.
There has been speculation that a breadcrumb trail also aids the user's 'mental model' of the site's layout to reduce disorientation within the site (Bernard, 2003); however, we have not found research to validate this assumption. It would seem logical, however, that a constant visualization of the path to the user's current location would increase their awareness and knowledge of the site structure.
There are three different types of breadcrumbs represented in websites – path, attribute, and location. Path breadcrumb trails are dynamic in that any given page will show a different breadcrumb trail based on how the user reached the page. Attribute breadcrumb trails display meta information showing many different trails representing several possible paths to reach the page.
One page or separate pages? When faced with that decision, ask yourself these questions: How much do people want in one visit? How connected is the information? Am I overloading my site visitors? How long is the web page? What’s the download time? Will people want to print? How much will they want to print?