1. Information Organisation strategies, it is evident that when the materials aim to
provide initial knowledge, for example, facts,
Information can be organised in Web formats in many procedures and rules of discourse, linear linking is an
more ways than in print-based documents. One of the appropriate hypermedia form. For this type of
identifying characteristics of the Web is its ability to knowledge acquisition, it is appropriate to create
present information in a hypertext mode. A problem materials with a strong structure that present
facing the Web designer is the best way to organise information in a planned and considered fashion.
material so that it can be easily discovered and
accessed. For higher levels of knowledge, for example,
developing an understanding of concepts and
Hypermedia Forms principles, the less structured hierarchical and
referential linking are more appropriate. In these
The different forms of hypermedia can be represented instances, readers are guided by such factors as their
by a continuum describing the nature of the linking prior knowledge and readiness to assimilate new
involved. material. When building on an existing knowledge
• At one end of the continuum, the links are minimal base, readers can benefit from the freedom to browse
and simply act to connect nodes in a specified and explore, to inquire and seek responses to their own
sequence. This form of hypermedia closely questions rather than following a pre-determined path
resembles conventional text and is referred to as of instruction.
linear. In its use, the reader is encouraged and in
most cases compelled to follow a set presentation a. Linear Organisation
sequence. In hypermedia environments, there is When information is organised in a linear fashion,
potential to create materials with varying degrees of readers are expected to move through the information
linearity. base in a sequential fashion. Many textbooks are based
• Further along the continuum, the links tend to form on a linear organisation with chapters and sections.
a hierarchical structure, giving readers more The sequence of the information is decided by an
freedom in the choice of path through the materials. author/instructional designer who judges the order in
• At the extreme, hypermedia can provide a totally which the material should be covered to facilitate
free information environment with multiple links learning. But this doesn't prevent readers from
between associated nodes. In such environments, accessing the information in non-linear ways, for
readers are free to move between associated nodes example, though use of an index.
through referential links and very little structure is
imposed on them. The way information is organised plays strong parts in
helping the reader retain what has being read. When
the information is presented in an organised and
structured fashion, the organisation helps the reader in
developing an understanding and overview of the
information. Information that has no structure is much
more difficult to retain.
linear hierarchical referential
Figure 1 A continuum describing information
organisation in hypermedia.
The choice of information organisation for Web
materials depends on the nature of the intended
audience. For example, different organisation Figure 2A Web document with a linear organisation
strategy. The pages are accessed by clicking next or
strategies are needed for novices and experts.
When the instructional forms of hypermedia are It is difficult to find Web materials that have a totally
matched against the continuum describing instructional linear organisation. While many are created as linear
Information Organisation 1
files, most have indices and links enabling readers to are usually constrained to follow the tree structure and
move freely within them. For example, the image to move back to the previous index in order to make a
below shows a Web document whose first section new selection.
comprises an index with links to the various sections in
the document. The document can be browsed in a Such an organisation has several advantages:
linear fashion by scrolling or through the links placed • readers view the information base in its modular
at the head of the document. form as a structured set of pages;
• readers can freely access any of the sections in the
When designing Web documents of this form, it is site by appropriate index choices;
important to be aware of the following and to take • readers are encouraged to use the documents in a
them into consideration: structured fashion;
• readers usually like to be able to scan and browse, • in any section, readers have a strong sense of their
linear organisation prevents this; place in the overall structure of the information
• linear organisation can overwhelm readers with the base; and
amount of material provided in one place; • this structure enables strong orientation support, an
• readers are not normally aware of how much aspect discussed in detail in the next section.
information exists below what can be seen on the
screen; There is perhaps only one weakness in this
• clearly mark the beginning and end of the various organisation structure. There is no overall indication
sections to alert the reader when the section is of the scope and size of the information base, and
complete. readers must visit each page in turn to view the number
• it is helpful include links at the end of each section of sections each contains. In all other respects it serves
to take the user back to the index. its purpose very well.
b. Hierarchical Organisation A common feature of most Web materials and
Most Web documents tend to have a hierarchical form documents is links to related documents. In
due to the nature and scope of the information that they hierarchical structures, links to related documents can
contain. The information necessitates the use of diminish the hierarchical barriers. Once a reader has
discrete pages and an organisation format to enable linked to an external document, there is no constraint
readers to access the different pages. If there is a on other links that can be made. If external linking is
significant body of information, there can be a large to be used in materials designed around a hierarchical
number of pages organised in this way. form, readers must be made aware of strategies that can
be used to return to the original document structure.
Figure 3 shows a Web page with a hierarchical Perhaps the most common solution is to have readers
organisation structure. Various pages can be accessed store the bookmark of the main index. This will
at will through an index. In this structure, to select a always enable them to return to a known position at
new section or a new page requires the reader to move any time.
back through the hierarchy to the index documents.
c. Referential Organisation
Information bases which use referential linking as an
organisation strategy are usually quite easy to create.
In most instances, designers search the WWW for sites
where related information is stored and then create a
document with a series of links to these sites. The
document shown below is of this type. It contains a
series of links to external sites and represents a vast
information base in which a reader can explore.
In a system using a referential organisation scheme,
backtracking and relocating visited sites can become
problematic. Once a user has linked to an external site
and linked again from this external site, he or she is
effectively browsing in hyperspace. There is no
constraint on which links can be made and millions of
potential paths can be followed.
Web page with a hierarchical organisation strategy
The use of the hierarchical organisation in the course
shown above restricts the movement of students in the
information base. Once within a section, users cannot
always move freely from one section to the next. They
Information Organisation 2
There are many options available to the Web designer
to assist readers with orientation and travel through
information systems just as there are many different
procedures in subway systems throughout the world. If
you think of potential users of any information systems
you design as foreign travellers, you will begin to
consider the necessary elements for a navigable
Some Web sites use metaphorical interface to assist the
user to navigate. In such settings, a virtual setting is
used to organise the resources. Users access resources
by electing the most likely place (based on their real
A Web document with a referential organisation
strategy http://www.dlese.org an online library of earth
Experienced users can store bookmarks and use the
back and forward options provided by the browser as a
navigation aid. As mentioned in the discussion of
hierarchical organisation, having readers store the
bookmark of a main document is one way to provide a
permanent link back to the main document.
Due to the extensive amount of information available
on the Web, referential mediabases in almost any
subject can be developed quite quickly. The Web Figure 5 A metaphorical interface
Navigation is aided by the use of a virtual setting which
contains information on almost any topic known to
helps users to identify the location of resources.
man and there are powerful search engines available to
locate relevant sites from which more focused inquires b. Indices
can begin. Most Web pages use indices of some form to assist the
readers to discover where resources might be located
2. Navigation Elements within the site. An index is usually place on the left of
the screen or sometimes in the headers and footers of
The term navigation is used in the context of electronic
information systems to describe the processes and
means by which readers can move between
information nodes and gain some sense of their
orientation within the overall structure. Thus there are
two main aspects to navigation, one deals with having
a sense of location, orientation, and the other a sense of
how to change to a specific location, travel.
A good analogy to describe these two terms is to
consider a traveller using a subway system in a foreign
city. Once in the subway system, the traveller needs to
have some sense of where he or she is in relation to the
overall system. Once the traveller has this orientation,
there is also a need to be able to know how to move to
certain places. This involves such knowledge as where
lines intersect, how transfers are affected, how tickets
are purchased and how much they cost. A map Figure 6 A Page Index
provides a means for orientation, (if it is in the right The index provides access to the various pages in this
language). Knowledge of local subway rules are
needed to know how to travel throughout the system.
c. site map
Most Web pages will provide a site map as a fallback
strategy to assist readers to find the page they are
Information Organisation 3
seeking. The site map can be supplied as a series of Such images are created as graphical elements and are
organised links or as a concept map which displays the interspersed within documents to provide visual cues.
organisation across subjects and topics.
Breadcrumbs describe the use of link descriptions that
show the pages which haven accessed in a hierarchical
fashion to arrive at the current page. They typically
show at the top of a Web page in an inconspicuous
fashion as an orientation aid. Normally the elements
within the breadcrumb are clickable and this aids
navigation within the site as well as orientation.
Figure 7 A Site Map
A page to aid navigation showing site pages and their Fig 8 Breadcrumbs
organisation. An orientation strategy showing the trail used within a
Web site to arrive at the current page
3. Orientation Elements c. Home Page
Most sites use a Home Page as a referent point and aid
One of the major problems reported with the use of the to orientation. A link on every page to return the user
Web as an information source, is the orientation of the to the Home Page can assist in orientation in that it
reader within the information system. Orientation helps users to orient themselves when needed.
describes the means by which users are able to identify Unfortunately this system does not always guarantee
their current position in a system in relation to the the user will remain oriented.
d. Search Option
Disorientation is a problem which is frequently Some sites find it very hard to ensure user orientation
observed in studies of Web users. Disorientation and ease of navigation. The use of a site map provides
describes the state of users who have travelled within a a strong navigation support in that it enables the user to
system and have no sense of place, position or the path locate pages, based not only on their titles and
taken. Disorientation can have a number of associated placements but also through keyword searches on their
problems: content. Search engines like Google support large
• disoriented users often have no sense of the scope Web site design by enabling developers to include a
and extent of the information system and much of local Google search as a page element.
the information is concealed from them;
• disoriented users cannot search and browse
purposefully and can end up wandering aimlessly;
• disoriented users spend much of their time on tasks
which have little learning prospect.
A number of strategies are available to the Web
developer to aid the user‘s orientation within a Web
a. Placement cues
In linear sequences, the use of bars or graphs can be Fig 9 Search Option
used to indicate the distance and placement of the A Home Page with a search option enables users to
learner within an information system or document. discover pages within the local Web site through
Information Organisation 4
4. Copyright separate from the copyright in the films, music and
other material which they broadcast; and
Copyright is a form of legal protection for people who • published editions: publishers have copyright in
express ideas and information in certain forms. The their typographical arrangements, which is separate
most common forms are: writing, visual images, music from the copyright in works reproduced in the
and moving images. edition (such as poems or illustrations or music).
There are a lot of materials not protected by copyright
In Australia, there are a number of important aspects to
in Australia, but these may have other forms of
our copyright rules and regulations:
protection. For example:
• Copyright protection is free and applies
• Names, titles and slogans are not copyright
automatically when material is created.
protected but often have Trade Mark protection eg.
• There is no registration system in Australia under
Coca Cola, Nike, McDonalds;
the Australian Copyright Act.
• People themselves are not protected. Someone can
• Copyright applies only to specific categories of
take your photograph and reproduce it without
breaching copyright. Copyright prevents others
• Copyright does not protect ideas, information,
from using existing photographs without
styles or techniques.
permission but not new photographs. There are
• Copyright doesn‘t last forever.
however privacy laws that work in these instances.
• There are no general exemptions from copyright
law for non-profit organisations or for personal use.
One important issue about copyright that needs to be
understood is that copyright only protects the materials
themselves and not the ideas they contain. For
example, a person breaches copyright when he or she
reproduces using a photocopier or scanner or camera a
musical score. Copyright is not breached if the musical
score if reproduced by a hand copy. The reason is that
be handcopying, the music, the actual copy has not Fig 9 Copyright
Using a computer music program to copy a musical
been violated (even though the ideas it contains have).
score does not infringe copyright. What is being copied
is not the image but the ideas.
a. Copyright Protection
b. Copyright Ownership
• textual material (―literary works‖) such as journal Copyright is considered to last from the time the
articles, novels, screenplays, poems, song lyrics and material is created until 70 years after the creator‘s
reports; death. This rule has exceptions though, and often the
• computer programs (a sub-category of ―literary copyright is extended by new legal owners of the copy.
• compilations (another sub-category of ―literary Copyright is usually owned by the person who has
works‖) such as anthologies, directories and created the materials, eg an artist, a printing company,
databases—the selection and arrangement of a record company, a film studio. Often however these
material may be protected separately from the people negotiate ownership of copyright with partners
individual items contained in the compilation; etc. There are some interesting exceptions to this
• artistic works such as paintings, drawings, general rule in the following cases.
cartoons, sculpture, craft work, photographs, maps
and plans; • Employees. Where a work is made by an employee
• dramatic works such as choreography, (rather than a freelancer) as part of that person‘s
screenplays, plays and mime pieces; job, the employer will usually own copyright. For
• musical works: that is, the music itself, separately staff journalists and photo-journalists, however,
from any lyrics or recording; while the employee will own most of the copyright,
• cinematograph films: the visual images and the employee will usually own copyright for some
sounds in a film, video or DVD are protected purposes (photocopying and publication in books).
separately from any copyright in works recorded on • Freelancers generally. Freelance creators will
the film or video, such as scripts and music; usually own copyright in what they create.
• sound recordings: the particular recording itself is Someone who pays for the work to be made can
protected by copyright, in addition to, for example, generally use the work for the purposes for which it
the music or story that is recorded; was created, but may not be entitled to use it for
• broadcasts: TV and radio broadcasters have a other purposes.
copyright in their broadcast signals, which is • Freelance photographers, engravers and people
doing portraits. There are a number of rules for
Information Organisation 5
commissioned photographs, and which rule applies deep linking cases before the courts that will establish
depends on when the photo was taken, but if a precedents in the area of Internet linking and deep
photograph was taken on or since 30 July 1998, the linking. Deep linking occurs when a link in a Web site
photographer will own copyright unless the photo is to a page deep within the Web site of another. The
was commissioned for a private or domestic potential problem with deep linking is that the link
purpose. Someone who pays for the making of an avoids the Front Page, any advertising it contains and
engraving or portrait will usually own copyright. any description of the page and its context.
• Films and sound recordings. The first owner of
copyright in a film is usually the person who Copyright law surrounding Web linking is not definite
arranges for it to be made, or the person who paid yet and linking is not specifically stated within the
for it to be made. The first owner of copyright in a Copyright Act. Some court litigation in the area in the
sound recording is usually the person who paid for United States is beginning to develop precedents that
the recording to be made. suggest deep linking can be seen as a violation of
• A State, Territory or Federal Government will copyright. One big problem is that if the site is a
usually own copyright in material created, or first commercial site, deep linking can create costs as well
published by it or under its direction or control. as denying the provider of legitimate income because
the advertising material and hit counters have been
c. Infringing Copyright passed over.
There are many ways to infringe copyright and to be The majority of sites on the Internet carry copyright
liable for prosecution. Some infringements don‘t even and usage statements outlining what forms of use are
involve copying. For example, copyright is infringed permitted. Such statements are usually contained
when someone: within the site through a link in the footer of the Web
• Imports copyright materials eg. bringing home page labeled ‗terms and conditions‘, ‗copyright‘ or
cheap (and copied) DVDs from overseas; similar. Generally speaking, permission should be
• Making, selling or renting devices that are used to sought to deep link in to the content of an external
hack, crack or mod chip. The law makes it illegal website.
for people to act in ways that can lead to
circumventing the digital protection on electronic (ii) Framing
materials eg. MP3s, CDs etc. (a mod chip is a piece The use of frames enables a developer to create a Web
of hardware used to circumvent the protection of page with a number of separate windows with a
the digital source). different page displayed within a frame. When frames
are used, it can give a user the impression the material
Copyright protects only one aspect of intellectual contained within the frames originates from the host
property. Other protections exist though: site. When this is the case, the page can contravene the
• Trademarks; names and symbols registered for Copyright Act.
trade and commercial purposes
• Design laws; laws that protect basic design issues Framing of pages and other sites can also be seen as a
eg. the shape of the Porsche 911; violation of Moral Rights law as it can lead to false
• Confidential information; it is illegal to copy and attribution of ownership of the materials. When a page
deal wit confidential information usually through opens in a frame, the impression that is given is that
privacy law, owner of the frame is the owner of all the content being
• Patents; patents protect ideas to protect them from displayed, which is often not the case. It is important
being copied. Patents must be registered for the to ensure clarity of ownership in the materials between
protection to be afforded. the two sites. For this reason, links to other sites are
best made into new blank windows.
Copyright is an international issue and Australian
copyright is recognised in most overseas countries (and
Australia recognises the copyright of materials from
most overseas countries).
d. Copyright and the Web
The Web is one form of intellectual property and the
copyright rules apply to the Web and the underlying
materials as it does to others. One grey area of Web
copyright activity that is currently a copyright issue
relates to linking.
Fig 10 Frames
(i) Linking External pages opening in a frame can give the wrong
Currently, particularly within the US, there are several impression as to whom they belong.
Information Organisation 6
Links of Interest Information Organisation: Revision
Suggestions for how to organise content on your
website. 1. Describe the three strategies that can be used for
http://www.logiko.com/page/contents.html organising information in a hypermedia setting.
Guidelines from human-computer interface design 2. What do you think would be the best strategy to
research organise information for an online learning course?
summary.htm 3. What do you think would be the best strategy for
organising the information contained in an online
Tips on designing accessible navigation. library?
y_no1.htm 4. Describe three strategies that can be used in Web
page design to aid the navigation of the user.
Information on navigational elements so as to reach a
balance between aesthetics and functionality. 5. Describe three strategies that can be used in Web
http://www.wpdfd.com/wpdnav.htm site design to assist the user to orient him/herself
within a Web site. .
Explores Website Architecture - Website Navigation
http://www.avwebvisions.com/site-navigation.html 6. In a Web site, is a site map a navigation aid or an
orientation aid? Explain your answer.
Tips on web-site navigation.
http://www.buildwebsite4u.com/building/website- 7. Describe the concept of copyright and to what it
Ideas on how to navigate your website and not loose 8. If a person uses a logo from a Web site he has
your audience. found on the Web, is he/she infringing copyright?
http://www.webstyleguide.com/interface/navigate.ht Explain your answer
9. What is meant by the term deep-linking in Web site
12 Website Design Decisions Your Business or design? How can deep-linking contravene
Organization Will Need to Make copyright?
10. Why should frames be used with care when linking
A visual and useful document showing the process of to external Web sites?
redesigning a website for a digital magazine.
A useful website with numerous links to understanding
Information Architecture of websites.
A website helping designers understand what design
practices are currently in use on the Web and
commonly-employed design practices.
What is copyright?
Australian Copyright Council's Online Information
Frames are a picnic – a basic step-by-step guide to
understanding frames in web design.
Information Organisation 7