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How to Use the Web's Potential When Formatting Information

The Web allows us to view information multidimensionally (see Figure 3). At the same time, it is important to maintain focus while operating within that complex environment.

Figure 3Figure 3 To see beyond the page, first move beyond the page's formal restrictions. Use a format that encapsulates motion as well as content.

Step 1: Shift Formatting Protocols from the Page to a Network

The page is useful as a first-stage information container, but it cannot handle all our information needs. This is especially true as we consider designing information for the Web. On the Web, information is always in motion. Formatting information for the Web should take this into account.

Step 2: Don't Abandon the Page

Incorporate the page into a larger networking configuration; don't simply abandon it (see Figure 4).

Figure 4Figure 4 The page view retains its utility, as long as it is incorporated into a larger, more mobile framework.

Like Russian nesting dolls, consider the page as living within the larger context of the Web itself. Then format that nesting page into the larger context.

Step 3: Use the Power of the Network Configuration

When you harness the power of the network configuration, you can create connectivity, relatedness, and other useful ways of organizing the information (see Figure 5).

Figure 5Figure 5 By networking information by islands of meaning instead of solely by pages, you add organizational depth and utility.

Network configurations allow pathways to show through the information in map-like fashion.

Step 4: Focus Is Always an Issue

Don't splinter users' attention as they engage with a Web design. Instead, work at two levels seamlessly (see Figure 6). Establish a network of connectivity to account for a multiobject content overview.

Figure 6Figure 6

Figure 7Figure 7 Real information utility requires seeing the overview and the detail—topsight and insight at a glance, as depicted in these two figures.

Content can be considered as objects. Then these objects can be configured into a network. Next, establish whatever connections you want to make within the content. But the network must be able to be viewed from near and far, from up-close near the object to far away, taking in the larger network view.

Step 5: Transparency Means Seeing Near and Far at a Glance

At the same time, you must configure the network so that one-at-a-time object views are possible.

This creates visible depth, seeing close-up in the context of far away, and vice versa.

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