A Pattern Language for an Essay-Based Web Site

By: R. Orenstein
Published in: PLoPD2
Pages: 417-431

How to write and organize essays on a Web site.

Category: Web Site Development

Summary: How to write and organize essays on a Web site.

Url: http://www.anamorph.com/docs/patterns/default.html

Pattern: Natural Text Flow

Pages: 419

Many Web documents contain words and phrases that call attention to their location on the Web. This is unnecessary. Write text that reflects the content of the document, in your native tongue, and avoid phrases that call attention to the "Webness" of the document.

Pattern: Natural Text Hyperlinks

Pages: 419-420

You're using Natural Text Flow. One of the useful features of the Web is hyperlinks to other documents, yet the wording of these links can distract readers from the natural flow of the text. Write your text document as if you were creating printed text in your native tongue, and look for the natural hyperlink phrase in the text you've written. It will almost always be there.

Pattern: Natural Text Directories

Pages: 420-421

You're using Natural Text Flow and Natural Text Hyperlinks. To organize your documents, provide a series of natural text hyperlinks in your headers and footers. Reading from left to right, users should know exactly where they are in your document tree, with the leftmost position representing the current document and the rightmost position representing the site's home page.

Pattern: Reference Section

Pages: 424

You're using Natural Text Flow. There may be many documents on the Web that discuss material related to your essays. To point interested readers to these pages, at the end of your essay, provide a Reference Section, formatted as an HTML unordered list. Supply links to related Web pages along with a description of these pages. Write the links using Natural Text Hyperlinks

Pattern: Exposable Guts

Pages: 425-426

When valuable information is found, users will want to know about the creation of the information itself. Provide meta information that explains how you gathered and presented your work. The meta information should never be the first thing the user sees, but it should be easily accessible from the primary information.

Pattern: Worksheet Documents

Pages: 426-427

You're using Exposable Guts and Reference Section. You want to publish a document on the Web, but it isn't finished yet. For each unfinished page, create a separate Worksheet Document. In this document, state why the page is unfinished and what you expect to add. Provide a link to the Worksheet Document from the incomplete document's Reference Section.

Pattern: New Document Notification

Pages: 428

You're using Exposable Guts to provide meta information for readers. When you add new essays to your site, previous readers won't know about the new material unless they visit your site to see what's changed. On the opening page of your Web site, close to the bottom, include a form with a single field for collecting readers' e-mail addresses. Send out notices when new documents are added to the site. If the site contains documents of different topics or subtopics, include checkboxes so that readers can choose the information they care about.

Pattern: 14.4 Kbps Testing

Pages: 429-430

Documents at some Web sites can take a minute or longer to load at 14.4 kbps. When creating a Web site, test pages with large images on slower-speed systems. Near the development machines, set up a computer that is connected via a 14.4 kbps modem, and test all pages from this machine.

Category: Testing, Web Site Development