RKT Design Principleswww.mibsoftware.com

4. Overlapping Topic Clusters

  • Give a structure the user can navigate

  • Link to detailed topics from overviews

  • Provide multiple paths to topics
    Avoid rigid taxonomies ("topic hiding")

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The overall site structure should match how the site will be used and read, not how it is authored and maintained. General topics should be presented first, and link to more descriptive and detailed topics.

Grouping links to related topics together on "overview" pages provide a starting point for "in depth" learning in a particular area. A user-visible structure creates an awareness and expectation of what else is available on the site. This will aid the user in navigation and later visits.

Rigid hierarchies which provide access to a topic in only one way are not acceptable. In the "real world", there are many examples of items which overlap more than one category. A topic should be linked from all relevant overviews. Allowing access from only one category will effectively "hide" that topic from the users who thought it should be in the other category.

How the RKT Tools Help
The RKT tools make it easy to create lists of links. Simply place the topic title in backquotes and the RKT tools will automatically add a HREF anchor to link to that topic.

Automatically generated "maps" of topic titles can be imported, so that you can link to titles site-wide from any document.

Copyright 1998, Forrest J. Cavalier III
Mib Software
High Reuse Software Development