Re: Students & Web pages (long -sorry!)

Subject: Re: Students & Web pages (long -sorry!)
From: Ellen_Douglas -at- LADON -dot- RESDOC -dot- CS -dot- CMU -dot- EDU
Date: Fri, 19 Apr 1996 11:09:39 -0400

Greetings, all, from a long-time lurker and first-time poster.

Sue Gallagher, in response to Patricia Goubil-Gambrell, wrote:

...information chunking and non-sequential access is not (or,
at least does not seem to be me to be) as critical for Web pages
as for online help and online documentation. When you're writing
an online help file, you never know where the reader is going to
access the file. If the access mode is context-sensitive or thru
the search engine, the reader can jump in literally anywhere.

On the Web, it's almost certain that the reader will access the index
or home page first, simply because that's the URL that's available.
Then, too, scrolling down an exceptionally long page is often deemed
preferable to jumping to a new page because it shortens access time
on the Web -- this technique is poison to online doc and online help.
<snip>
But I've worked
in two companies now that have had a Web presence and marketing
has held the reins in both instances.


I guess there are Web pages and there are Web pages.

I think you're talking about just one kind of Web page--a commercial
presence, one that describes a company and its products. The
Web pages that I maintain are my department's version of online
help. Like you, I don't know where the reader will be coming from when
she gets to a file. I have to chunk information carefully to avoid the
"exceptionally long page" you mention. I'm constantly reviewing my
files to make sure I have as many useful links to other docs as I can.

What the hiring manager should do, I suggest, is have a look at the
kind of Web page the prospective employee has written. And given Sue's
experience, the prospective employee should clarify, in resume or
interview, the kind of page she has done.

Ellen Douglas
epd -at- cs -dot- cmu -dot- edu

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