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Chapter 3. The Web Environment

Chapter 3. The Web Environment

There are two senses in which I use the word environment in this chapter: the user environment and the site environment. The user environment consists of the actual physical and cognitive spaces in which the user interacts with the Web. The school, the office, home, and a public venue are different actual environments in which users may engage in Web activity. The site environment is the real-world metaphor(s) used to design the Web site's structure, look and feel, and permissible activities. For example, a brick and mortar bookstore environment can be a metaphor for a book shopping Web site.

Designers should consider the user environment to anticipate those features and cues of the environment that may trigger biases, thought processes, and decisions impacting the user's Web actions. Designers also should consider people's behaviors and actions in real-world environments when using them as metaphors to design Web sites. What follows is a discussion of issues that a designer should keep in mind when designing for user and Web environments.


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