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Summary

As the first layer of the Behavior tier, the Viewing and Navigation layer contains some of the most used and most common interface mechanisms on the Web. Because many of these behaviors, navigation in particular, also apply to content-based Web sites, there is a fairly evolved set of visual and interactive conventions that should be followed. These conventions include the following:

  • Goals of navigation. A navigation scheme should help users understand three things: what type of application they’re using, where else they can go, and what about the application is important.

  • Navigation mechanisms. Although tabs and trees are the two most common forms of high-level navigation, they are both limited in scalability, hide choices from the user, and fail to support lateral navigation. The impact of these limitation can be mitigated but not eliminated.

  • Selection of data objects. Two conventions are used to relate commands with data objects in a list. The convention of shared controls allows users to select multiple items at a time, but the convention of dedicated controls more tightly couples the objects and commands.

  • Viewing and manipulating lists. There are four established interactive conventions useful for manipulating lists of data objects: column set selection, sorting, paging, and filtering. Working in concert, these mechanisms give users with the power and flexibility to modify the presentation of their data.


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