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Chapter 6. Web Page Navigation > Lab 6.1 Exercises

Lab 6.1 Exercises

6.1.1. Understand the Difference Between Content and Navigation

Web pages contain both information content and navigation elements.

a) Discuss the difference between content and navigation.

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A1:

Answer: Content is comprised of those things presented on the page that are intended to provide information. These can be text, graphics, or a combination of both. In general, the content would have the exact same significance or importance in a different media. Navigation is the process of moving through a particular Web document or moving between different Web documents.

One advantage hypertext has is that certain elements can be used both as content and for navigation. For example, a textual description of something might contain a link to something else. You are provided the information as well as a means of moving (i.e., navigating) somewhere else.
b) Discuss the necessity of having navigation elements on every Web page.

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A2:

Answer: Without navigation elements on every page, the reader will quickly become “lost in Web space.” Although a user might be able to backtrack using the “Back” button, he or she may have gone to so many different sites and followed so many different links that finding the original starting point may be hard. Navigation aids help the traveler reach his or her destination or, at the very least, help him or her return to a known starting point.

Think about a terminal at a large international airport. There are corridors, elevators, stairways, and many other ways of getting from place to place. Signs are helpful pointing to specific areas and the closer you get to that area the more specific the signs become. The airport in Frankfurt, Germany is one of the busiest in the world, serving as a hub between Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas. However, because of the navigation aides provided, it is one of the easier airports to navigate.
c) Why are user profiles important? How can they be employed in designing navigation aides?

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A3:

Answer: Different users will have different navigation needs. It is important that the characteristics of expected users be known while considering the navigation needs of a Web page. In other words, no two people access the same information always in the same way, just as one person does not access all kinds of information in the same way.

There are three primary methods of navigation on the Web. The first is direct, where you know the URL you want and simply type it in the Address line. The second is also direct, but requires previous knowledge of the site. This is the navigation provided by the Web site developers. These are the links that they provide themselves. Finally, there is the search engine. This gives you the ability to jump from one place to another, without having to go through the intermediate pages.

In other context you will hear the terms “drill down” and “keyword search.” Drill down is what we typically do in a file manager, where we click on one folder, then the next, then the next until we reach the directory and file that we want. On a Web site, this is equivalent to clicking on a link in a menu, clicking on the next menu, effectively going deeper into the site. Keyword search is nothing more than the search function available on so many sites.

Note that typically both of these methods are required. If you cannot find the exact information you are looking for, the search engine allows you to input words and phrases to help you find it. However, if you end up with 38,942 matches, then you have a problem. Knowing where to start looking allows you to zero in (drill down) on the information.


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