The Research and Development of the Informatics Web The Development of the ICS web Next Page

Information and Navigation Cues

To help orient the user, and to answer the question, "What is this?", each page will have a single, concise heading, which will also serve as the document title, printed in the title bar of web browsers. Following that, there will be a single, bold paragraph, which gives a concise description of the following page. This will further explicate the nature of the page the user is looking at. At the bottom of each page, will be the address of the ICS web maintainer, which is "". This allows specific user feedback, and gives the impression of a carefully maintained information system.

The principle information of intermediate pages, i.e. pages which are not leaf pages, will be presented in a bulleted list. Through my own, personal, experience, a list of this form relays information much faster than a paragraph of text with the occasional hyper-linked word. Simplicity, on this occasion, can be used advantageously.

Use of Icons

Icons will be used as a principle method of navigation. These will mainly be symbolic or exemplar icons, and will act as a supplement to, or an alternative to the textual links.

home The homepage icon

I used this icon because it resembles the 'root' ICS department, Although perhaps not as intuitive as it could be, I believe users will quickly grasp its function. Maintainers also have the option of replacing the home.gif file with a more appropriate image, as they feel necessary. I did attempt to create a home icon based on the infohouse.gif image, but the resulting icon and icon2 were too small to maintain clarity.

bullet Bullet icons

I have decided to make use of 'bullet' icons, which prefix the major links in the web. Hopefully, the user will recognise the icon, and will be provided with a more immediate understanding of the link. Text will, of course, be provided which will give the user a more explicit description. Also, the use of graphics in this manner, gives the web a more 'quality' feel, as well as giving a more informal, 'fun' impression.

Icon design

I experimented with using different types of bullet icons, and came to the conclusion that a single, consistent style of icon would be most suitable. Using a consistent style would aid orient the user, as well as providing a consistent 'look and feel' to the web. I decided to use a 3D sphere, which would serve as the 'backdrop' to place specific images on. I chose the sphere, as opposed to buttons etc., because I believe it well-represents the Department of Informatics - a modern, professional and, perhaps, sophisticated organisation. This 'futuristic' theme is noticeable throughout much of the web's imagery.

I used a 3D modelling program to create the 3D sphere, and then I experimented with different sized spheres. I eventually decided on using a 34x34 pixel sphere, which is large enough to contain sufficient detail, yet small enough to constitute the sensible use of graphics. Here is an example of its use.

The Research and Development of the Informatics Web The Development of the ICS web Next Page