Chapter 7: Site Map Standards Exercise
For this exercise you will need a textbook, a "regular" book (such as a novel) and a magazine.
Over time the publishing industry has developed standard "site maps" for navigating through printed material. This assignment is an exercise in making apparent what those standards are.
Looking through the three types of publications, answer the following questions:
Q1: How do you know what the book/textbook/magazine is about?
From your investigation, what "site maps" are used in the publishing industry to help a reader navigate through these three types of printed materials?
Q2: If you just open the book to any page, how do you know where you are in the book?
Q3: How do you find where in the book/textbook/magazine a particular topic is discussed?
Q4: If you found three or four pages that had been torn out of a book/textbook/magazine, how would you know which book/textbook/magazine they were from?
Next, fire up your browser and look at a web site. Choose one of your favorites, pick a local business' site, or select one at random, such as one of Yahoo's Daily Picks. Answer the same questions for the web site as you did for the print publications.
Can you tell what the site is about from the first page you visit? What if it is not the site's home page?
Web site navigation standards are not yet well developed. There is some similarity, however, among web sites with like content. Look at your college or university's web site and then visit the web sites of other schools. What similarities do you see in topics and navigation aids?
As you visit various web pages, keep a list of common content areas. For example, many web sites have a FAQ page, a "Contact Us" page, even an "About Us" page. Many of these common elements exist because they are helpful. Not all, however, are equally useful! How often, for example, do you visit a company history page? Keep these ideas in mind when creating your own web sites.
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