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Web site Structure or Architecture

To understand what is meant by the “architecture” of your web site consider a well constructed outline of some topic. It starts with a top heading and underneath it you find the major subheading. For example, consider the following:

                       Main Topic
      Sub topic 1         Sub topic 2          Sub topic 3

          |                  |                                        Sub topic a  Sub topic b      Sub topic a


The above illustrates an outline for a main topic with three sub topics: 1, 2, &3; one of which has an addition two (sub) sub topics: a and b. This organizational structure is sometimes called a hierarchical structure and is an excellent way to organize any set of related topics. The relationship of each topic to the topic above it is implicit in the chart. This hierarchical structure is the one used in web site design. If you were to replace the word “Topic” in the above chart with the word “page” meaning web page, then you would could use the same chart to represent a web site. The Main Topic would be the main or “home” page. Sub topics 1, 2, and 3 could be the “photo album page”, the “the family events page”, and the “family genealogy page respectively. Under the photo album page you could have two sub pages: Sub page “a” could be “Our home movies page” and Sub page “b” could be “Our family photos page”.

Once you have thought through how you want to organize your web site, just sit down and diagram it out with boxes and lines connecting your pages and sub pages in the order and hierarchy that you like.

Ideally at the time the photos or any other scanned object are initially added to the computer that they are processed to have two versions:1) Version for both archiving and using for digital printing of the photo and a second for computer, TV or web display. It is suggested that this second version be approxiately 1000 pixels on a side and 90 pixels per inch resolution. 

It is important to carefully design your web site structure first so that as you assemble photos, written material and documents, movies, links and other objects you want to include on a web page that they can be stored in folders with the same names as the pages identified. I would suggest you have a file in “my documents” with the web site name and that it contain a set of folders named after each of the site’s web pages. If this process is followed you will find:

  • the organization and navigation of the material and the subsequent web site more understandable
  • organizing and preparing the content much easier; just adding content to the appropriate folder as you think of it or acquire it.
  • the final design and set up of the web site straight forward requiring less time in both setting up and debugging.
  • And finally result and process will be a much more pleasing and enjoyable experience.

Web Site Navigation:

Navigation of the web site is normally done through buttons that “link” pages together similar to the navigation buttons you see on the left side of this page. “Clicking” button moves the viewer to the web page named on the button. Text links also can be linked to pages, topics in a page or to any object included in the web site. To see an example of this just go to the bottom of this page and you will see navigation text that links to any page that falls directly under the title page of this document. Similarly any picture or object can be linked to a text, other objects, pages or even other sites on the world wide web or for that matter any file or document on the computer running the web site. 

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