Todd Gitlin

Next up, if you haven’t already guessed: the navigation of my website.

As Vinny mentions on his navigation post, simplicity is key. I’ve thought a lot about different navigation methods, and I keep coming back to two time-tested ideas: (1) a horizontal header with a horizontal navigation bar underneath it, right along the top of the page or (2) a horizontal header at the top and a vertical navigation bar on the left. Some web designers choose to put the navigation bar on the right (or they utilize a left and right design). I’m not considering that at this point because I prefer the left side. Perhaps that decision is subconsciously linked to politics; more likely, it’s because I was raised in a country that reads from left to right.

However, as I was brainstorming, I decided to go out on a limb: I want to try putting my navigation bar on the bottom of the site. It’s a risky move, in a way, but it’s also a very familiar paradigm for the average computer user, who has to use a “start” menu or a dock of icons (both of which are at the bottom of the screen, by default) to launch his or her applications. I want my website to be easy to use, and I think that having the navigation bar on the bottom is just as easy as having it on the top—but it’s just different enough to be mildly refreshing and interesting, while still providing that sense of familiarity we’ve been discussing. If I do end up deciding on this design, I’ll want my navigation bar to look similar to a computer dock, so I’ll be creating buttons that remind the user of icons. In fact, I’ve already made a few in PhotoShop. In any case, these buttons will allow the user to move comfortably from page to page.

The biggest departure from this will/would be the hypertext story that I may or may not create (I just need time), because the links to navigate the story would be in the story itself, not on a menu. Seemingly random words would take the reader to a new experience, a new definition, a new page. The choices the reader makes would affect the story’s message, perhaps its actual outcome. Of course, this is all assuming I can come up with the right story concept.

*NOTE: This blog entry is syndicated from a blog I had to start for my Electronic Publishing class at U.B. this semester. I may or may not delete the extraneous blog when the class is over, but I thought I would at least give my readers the opportunity to read the contents of that blog indefinitely.

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