Re: An interesting design problem

Subject: Re: An interesting design problem
From: David Blyth <dblyth -at- QUALCOMM -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 19 Aug 1996 18:38:22 -0700

Becca and Misti wonder...

>here's the problem: in windows help, there are 2 kinds of jumps that you can
>make from one topic to another: a full jump to another topic; and a popup,
>which displays text in a small box that overlies the original help window.

You can simulate menus and popups in HTML by splitting a Web page
into 2 or more Frames.

o You can simulate a menu by inserting a series of icons into a
stable frame (called a ledge). As long as the frame stays on
the user's screen, the user can click on an icon and drive
text from another URL into the second (and larger) frame.

o You can simulate a pop-up by reversing the process. That is,
click inside a large frame and drive the URL into the smaller

The main difference is that frames stay open all the time while
pop-ups and menus close semi-automatically.

I've tried this technique and it works pretty well, tho it's not
perfect. The biggest problem is that secondary frames are pretty
small and you gotta edit to death what goes in there.

See <> Minerals by
name for a good use of frames.

>Hotspots for these are indicated by two different formatting in the text: a
>popup is green text with a dotted underline, and a full jump is green text
>with a solid underline.

>Alas, on the web, a link is a link is a link. There's only one kind of link
>to another topic, and that's the full jump.

Actually, there are some interesting variations of the 'full jump'.

o Server-push links download additional material whether or not you
requested it. For example, if you keep a browser window open to
<>, CNN will download breaking news stories as they

o Client-pull links automatically forward the user to another page,
usually within a given time period. For example, a page might exist
for 10 seconds, announce that "this page has moved" then flip
automatically to the new address. (BTW, 12 auto-moves a second is
one way to simulate motion on the Web).

o Reverse links are my current favorite - rather than causing a jump
to a new page, you can include material on someone else's page inside
of your own. For example, incorporating the HTML code...


...somewhere on your page causes the Netscape Navigator 3.0 icon to
appear in that location. It's probably a good idea to get permission
to do this. ;)

>so... how do I tell my users that the link is to a glossary definition
>rather than to another topic?

I've had to incorporate some definitions into the text. Otherwise, I
make careful use of Frames as pop-ups.

David (Just call me Cassandra) Blyth
Technical Writer & Web Site Designer

The usual disclaimers apply - QUALCOMM isn't that crazy.

Blodo Poa Maximus

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