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36 LESSON 2: Preparing to Publish on the Web FIGURE 2.7 Home Linear organization. Context generally is easy to figure out in a linear structure simply because there are so few places to go. A linear organization is rigid and limits your visitors’ freedom to explore and your free-dom to present information. Linear structures are good for putting material online when the information also has a linear structure offline (such as short stories, step-by-step instructions, or computer-based training), or when you explicitly want to prevent your visitors from skipping around. For example, consider teaching someone how to make cheese by using the Web. Cheese making is a complex process involving several steps that must be followed in a specific order. Describing this process using web pages lends itself to a linear structure rather well. When navigating a set of web pages on this subject, you’d start with the home page, which might have a summary or an overview of the steps to follow. Then, by using the link for going forward, move on to the first step, Choosing the Right Milk; to the next step, Setting and Curdling the Milk; all the way through to the last step, Curing and Ripening the Cheese. If you need to review at any time, you could use the link for mov-ing backward. Because the process is so linear, you would have little need for links that branch off from the main stem or links that join together different steps in the process. NOTE The linear navigation style is most commonly seen with long arti-cles on newspaper and magazine websites. The articles are often split into multiple pages, and navigation is provided to make it easy to move through the pages of the article sequentially. Linear with Alternatives You can soften the rigidity of a linear structure by enabling the visitors to deviate from the main path. You could, for example, have a linear structure with alternatives that branch out from a single point (see Figure 2.8). The offshoots can then rejoin the main branch at some point farther down, or they can continue down their separate tracks until they each come to an end. Download from www.wowebook.com Ideas for Organization and Navigation 37 FIGURE 2.8 Linear with alternatives. Home 2 Suppose that you have an installation procedure for a software pack-age that’s similar in most ways, regardless of the computer type, except for one step. At that point in the linear installation, you could branch out to cover each system, as shown in Figure 2.9. FIGURE 2.9 Different steps for different systems. After the system-specific part of the installation, you could link back to the original branch and continue with the generic installation. In addition to branching from a linear structure, you could also provide links that enable visitors to skip forward or backward in the chain if they need to review a particular step or if they already understand some content (see Figure 2.10). Download from www.wowebook.com 38 LESSON 2: Preparing to Publish on the Web FIGURE 2.10 Skip ahead or back. Combination of Linear and Hierarchical A popular form of document organization on the Web is a combination of a linear struc-ture and a hierarchical one, as shown in Figure 2.11. This structure occurs most often when documents that are both linear and structured are published online. This approach is often seen with reference manuals on the Web. Pages include links to the next and pre-vious sections for readers who are moving linearly through the manual, and links up through the document’s hierarchy, represented by the table of contents, are included, too. FIGURE 2.11 Home Combination of lin- ear and hierarchi-cal organization. The combination of linear and hierarchical documents works well as long as you have appropriate clues regarding context. Because the visitors can either move up and down or forward and backward, they can easily lose their mental positioning in the hierarchy when crossing hierarchical boundaries by moving forward or backward. Suppose that you’re putting the Shakespeare play Macbeth online as a set of web pages. In addition to the simple linear structure that the play provides, you can create a Download from www.wowebook.com Ideas for Organization and Navigation 39 hierarchical table of contents and summary of each act linked to appropriate places within the text, similar to what is shown in Figure 2.12. FIGURE 2.12 Macbeth’s hierarchy. 2 Because this structure is both linear and hierarchical, you provide links to go forward and backward, and links to return to the beginning and to move up in the hierarchy. But what is the context for going up? If you’ve just come down into this page from an act summary, the context makes sense: Up means go back to the summary from which you just came. But suppose that you go down from a summary and then go forward, crossing an act boundary (say from Act 1 to Act 2). Now what does up mean? The fact that you’re mov-ing up to a page you might not have seen before could be disorienting given the nature of what you expect from a hierarchy. Up and down are supposed to be consistent. Consider two possible solutions: n Do not allow forward and back links across hierarchical boundaries. In this case, to read from Act 1 to Act 2 in Macbeth, you have to move up in the hierarchy and then back down into Act 2. n Provide more context in the link text. Rather than just Up or an icon for the link that moves up in the hierarchy, include a description of where the user is moving to. Web A web is a set of documents with little or no actual overall structure; the only thing tying each page together is a link (see Figure 2.13). Visitors drift from document to document, following the links around. Download from www.wowebook.com 40 LESSON 2: Preparing to Publish on the Web For an example of such a site, visit Wikipedia at http://wikipedia.org. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia written and maintained by the public. Anyone can write a new article or edit an existing article, and the site is loosely organized. Articles that reference topics discussed in other articles link to them, creating a web organization scheme. Wikipedia has no hierarchical organization; you’re expected to find the topics you’re interested in by following links or using the site’s search functionality. FIGURE 2.13 A web structure. Home Web structures tend to be free-floating and enable visitors to wander aimlessly through the content. Web structures are excellent for content that’s intended to be meandering or unrelated or when you want to encourage browsing. The World Wide Web itself is, of course, a giant web structure. In the context of a website, the environment is organized so that each page is a specific location (and usually contains a description of that location). From that location, you can move in several different directions, exploring the environment much in the way you would move from room to room in a building in the real world (and getting lost just as easily). The initial home page, for example, might look something like the one shown in Figure 2.14. From that page, you then can explore one of the links, for example, to go into the build-ing, which takes you to the page shown in Figure 2.15. Download from www.wowebook.com ... - tailieumienphi.vn
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