2.1.2.2. Visualize a page's context with regard to the whole web site

A web page is very often a part of a whole web site consisting of tens, hundreds or even thousands of pages. In order to visualize this context, all pages should contain a hint on the web site's identification. Nielsen recommends a logo in every page, that might be applied for browsers running in devices with big screens. Especially in WAP phones with tiny displays, a logo would fill out the entire screen. Moreover, the first browser window without scrolling shall contain the most important information. This means, the smaller this window is the better you should avoid a logo. Nevertheless, how can we achieve the context visualization?

If a logo would be replaced by a web site's name, then this name should not be too long. Let's consider a WAP phone like the Siemens C35. It has a display with three lines. Even if the web site's name is short and would fit in the first line, the second line would contain the page's title. The main page's content would start in the third line. This is not very efficient because a user needs to scroll down to read the first sentence. Therefore, we must ask ourselves if the context is more important then the main content of a page. Well, WebCab.de (see http://webcab.de/) uses the same small logo (78 x 40 pixels) on the HTML, XHTML Basic and WML pages. In the WML version, only the home page contains the logo, all other WML pages have a hyperlink to the home page at the bottom using the web site's name as label. This is not a very consistent page design from device class to device class but we need to reflect the capabilities of the various browsers and the devices they are running in. Therefore, we cannot always reach the optimum design. It is a trade-off that we cannot avoid.

Copyright © 2001-2003 by Rainer Hillebrand and Thomas Wierlemann