The Structure of a Website Essay
The Structure of a Website
When setting up links to navigate websites, it is advisable to map out exactly how you want the pages to relate, using a common technique known as storyboarding. A storyboard is a diagram of a Web site’s structure, showing all the pages in the site and indicating how they are linked together. Because Web sites use a variety of structures, it is important to storyboard your Web site before you start creating your pages in order to determine which structure works best for the type of information the site contains. A well-designed structure can ensure that users will able to navigate the site without getting lost or without missing important information.
The Web sites we navigate everyday use different Web structures. Three types of Web structures are linear, hierarchical, and mixed. Linear structures are used when each page is linked with the pages that follow and precede it in an ordered chain. The user can move backward if they want to view the previous page. Linear structures work best for Web pages with a clearly defined order. However, they can be difficult to work with as the chain of pages increases in length.
You can modify this structure to make it easier for users to return immediately to an opening page, rather than backtrack through several pages to get to their destination. Augmented linear structure is when each page contains an additional link back to an opening page, this way the user does not have to navigate back through each page that has been visited. Linear structures are the simplest arrangement of all three structures, although it is likely to turn out to be the least effective way of organizing information in the long run if the website grows beyond the smallest of sizes.
In hierarchical structures the pages are linked going from the most general page down to more specific pages. Those pages, in turn, can be linked to even more specific topics. In a hierarchical structure, users can easily move from general to specific and back again. This type of Web structure is the most common. The user starts at the top and moves down through the pages. When using this structure every page should have a link back to the home page. A page that is not linked to the home page is called an “orphan” page or pages. Pages should not be more than three clicks away from the home page.
As your Web sites become larger and more complex, you often need to use a combination of several different structures. The overall form is hierarchical, as users can move from a general introduction down to individual pages and links also allow users to move through the site in a linear fashion, going from page to page. I would prefer using mixed structures when designing a Web site. The mixed structures make navigation through a site easy for almost any end user. Two Web sites that I navigate often, www.Google.com and www.Yahoo.com, used mixed and hierarchical structures.
What advantages do Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) have when creating Web pages?CSS stands for “cascading style sheets”. A single CSS file can contain positioning, layout, font, colors and style information for an entire web site. The file can be referenced by each html file on the site. CSS is a means of separating the content of an html document from the style and layout of that document. It’s useful to be able to do this for a number of reasons. CSS makes it very easy to change the style of a document. Let’s say we wanted to move the picture in the title of this page to the right by 10 pixels. This would be a hard to do in a table based design. We would have to open every page and alter the table width manually.
Fortunately we have used CSS, and all we have to do is open our CSS file which stores the layout of the site, and change the number relating to the position of the image. That will change his position throughout the whole site. The look and layout of a site can be changed beyond recognition just by altering the CSS file. This makes CSS indispensable for large web sites. Probably the mostly useful feature of CSS is that all of the style and layout is removed from the html, so the html page size is very much smaller. The CSS file is downloaded just once by the visitor’s browser and re-used for different pages on a web site. This reduces the bandwidth requirements for your server and also ensures a faster download for your visitors.
A search engine robot will normally consider the content in the start of your html code is more important than the text towards the end of the code. For a table based page the contents of the navigation bar will normally show up as the page description in search engine results. With a CSS page the navigation can be moved to the bottom of the source code, so the search engine displays your content instead of your navigation. Separating style from content makes life very easy for visitors who prefer to view only the content of a web page, or to modify the content. These could be blind or partially sighted people who might use a screen reader to interpret a page. Layout and position of navigation can be completely consistent across a site. This was previously possible only using frames.
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