Multiple Cross Sections

[WebsitePatterns]

Problems

How can you organise the content of your site for different classes of user?

Context

Most Web sites will be used for multiple purposes by people with different requirements and backgrounds. One structure will be suitable for one class of users but unsuitable for another.

Solution

Organise the content of the site in different ways for different users. Each structure would represent a cross-section of the information on the site viewed from a particular perspective.

Individual pages may be shared between cross-sections.

Resultant Context

Users can choose an organisation with which they feel familiar.

Providing users with VisibleContext is more complex, since they may have arrived at a page through different cross-sections of the site.

Known Uses

The Byrd Watcher site at http://ebni.com/byrds/index.html is organised as MultipleCrossSections through the same data: the history of the band is represented as intersecting strands from the perspective of each band member, by date, album, spin-off bands and so forth.

The Java tutorial at http://www.javasoft.com/docs/books/tutorial/index.html contains multiple, intersecting "Trails" that one can follow to learn different aspects of the Java language and API. -- NatPryce

On the hospital site, we had health information that would be organized in one order for parents, another way for physicians. See http://www.chmcc.org/diseases/. You may have to enter the site from the start in order for a cookie to get set. -- RobCrawford

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