Category: Interactive experiences

Online communities can take many forms, and add depth and breadth to your site. Problem You want to create an online community that adds value to your site. Solution The Internet offers the opportunity to create virtual communities using a range of technologies, including blogs, forums, and guest books; email lists; page comments; ratings; and

Asking specific questions, whether rhetorical or data-driven, can supplement your site’s content. Problem You want to expand your web content by drawing on the unique knowledge of your visitors. Solution Invite visitors to share information about highly specific questions, such as, “How has the habitat in your community changed over the years?” Discussion Incorporate into

Developing community while avoiding chaos. Problem Although the dynamic and database capabilities of web servers can encourage a sense of community, many approaches lead to abuse or misuse, including irrelevant and otherwise inappropriate content. Solution Draw on the unique knowledge and experience of your visitors in specific ways that serve to enhance your site’s content.

Flexible designs make finding information rewarding. Problem You need to engage visitors by making a large amount of data interesting. Solution Augment your database by utilizing any of a number of techniques: Provide views. Produce a series of pages with pre-selected fields, a clear layout, and illustrations. For example, a database of hundreds of insects

Utilizing straightforward URLs helps both humans and search engines find your pages. Problem You need to make pages memorable to both visitors and search engines. Solution Design straightforward URLs and do not use frames. Discussion Your URLs should be short enough so that people can write them down. Do not use frames. If pages are

Adding a local search engine helps visitors quickly locate the information they need. Problem Visitors need to find content among the sea of pages on your web site. Solution Add a search engine to your site. Add “Find:” to the bottom of every page, along with a search box. Also add a search link to

Linking as a navigational aid. Problem You need to let visitors move to neighboring pages. Solution In addition to the other navigational tools on the page, add previous and next links. Discussion For ease of navigation, add a small arrow, or a bracket, such as “>” or “».” These links should be obvious, and placed

Focusing on opportunities for interactivity. Problem You need to overcome the constraints of a web browser. Solution Expect to compromise and innovate. Discussion Browsers have limited screen space, limited navigational conventions, low resolution, and limited bandwidth. Content producers must massage the site’s content, appearance, pedagogy, and organization. Rather than be concerned with the shortcomings of

Organizing material for multiple navigation methods appeals to a variety of learning styles. Problem You need to organize the content of your web site. Solution Design the site so it can be navigated several different ways, but choose an overall organizational model that fits the subject. There are several approaches from which to choose: Organize

Repurposing material for a new medium. Problem You need to adapt a real experience into a virtual experience. Solution Rather than adapt the experience as a whole, instead plan on repurposing much of the material into a different structure. Discussion During the formative years of the Internet, print, radio, and television were quick to adapt