Eastgate Systems     Serious Hypertext


Web design is following the same path, although Web designers are only now discovering that the Navigation Problem is an illusion. Early sites, growing haphazardly, were indeed confusing and frustrating to use. In response, Web designers adopted rigid tools and rigid rules: organize sites hierarchically, provide navigation bars and menus everywhere, provide identical choices on each page, avoid complex link patterns.

This philosophy now dominates the Web, where it is embodied in Web magazines, corporate sites, special-interest collections, and even personal pages. Indeed, the structure of a large business site is often indistinguishable from that of a magazine: a topical 'home page' provides access to isolated, sparsely-linked, 'article' pages. Consistent navigational apparatus is regarded as a necessary virtue: every page needs its top-banner, its side-menu, its bottom menu-strip, and every part of a subsite offers identical navigational choices.

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