How do you help the reader know where they are in a Web site?
A Web site with many cross-links.
Include a small "map" or navigation bar on each page that links to pages near the current page. This might include pages that lead to the current page, pages related to the current page, and pages that give more detail about topics on the current page. Clearly separate the VisibleContext
from the actual content of the page.
gives a feeling of the overall structure of the site without detracting from the detailed information on each page.
If your site has a TreeStructure
, the VisibleContext
might include the path from the root to the current page and the siblings of the current page.
Many sites include navigation bars at the top and/or bottom of Web pages.
Another known use of this pattern is reflected in the way that NetObjectsFusion
works. When you design a site in its site layout tool, and then choose "create toolbar" in any page it will create a toolbar that links to the parent and siblings of that page. Most pages built with this tool reflect this idiom (for instance, the Web page I built a while back at http://members.aol.com/thecallfan
). -- KyleBrown
Bruce Tognazzini has published an article about designing VisibleContext
and discusses the lack of navigation support in browsers and Web site development tools at http://www.asktog.com/columns/015WebDesignRant.html
Adobe show how you can use color to make VisibleContext
by ensuring a ConsistentLook
between related pages and navigation icons. See http://www.adobe.com/studio/tipstechniques/wpdphse7/main.html
Do you think this wiki needs something like that? -- DaveHarris
...maybe as links to the, say, five pages the current page is most frequently accessed from? -- FalkBruegmann
is fine for tree-like sites. But on a web-like wiki the inline links (you could visualise them as a kind of TagCloud?
) are the 'where', and (if thoughtfully edited) lead to reciprocally-linked related pages. Recently I've seen a spate of wikis set up like hierarchical websites, a sign of InformationArchitecture
incomprehension that misses the wiki point and goes against WikiDesignPrinciples
Many pages on Wiki include hand-written VisibleContext
. E.g: Most of the JavaIdioms
have links back to the appropriate pattern index. These pages have a WebsitePatterns
button at the top.
Automatically generating VisibleContext
for Wiki pages might result in a severe performance hit. -- NatPryce
(another wiki in JSP) already have something like this and they call it Reference by, which provides all other pages that reference this page. Much more intutive way of doing this is using TheBrain
applet, please look at http://www.thebrain.com
. -- SeshKumar
But we have this if you click the title: BackLinks
I suspect generating
useful VisibleContext for a wiki would be somewhere between "pretty tricky" and "hard". -- MatthewAstley
Yes. Just have a look at the VisualTour
of each page. That should give you an idea.