Design Rationale

This webtext is designed using a web browser interface that should be familiar to many web readers. Web browsers enable readers to view web pages and provide a gateway to finding information online. This webtext was intentionally designed to draw attention to the interactive ways in which readers can approach texts that are created in or remediated for the Web. This design is mimetic to my thesis, that scholarly webtexts need both familiar and new assessment tools in order to be valued by academic stakeholders.

Navigation Instructions

To navigate this webtext, readers will use three GUI features typically found in browsers—the Navigation Toolbar, the Bookmarks Toolbar, and Tabbed Navigation —as well as internal and external links within the body text, some of which offer additional webtext material not in any of the menu options below. Here is a description of how each of the GUI navigation features function in this particular webtext:

Navigation Toolbar: The 'nav bar' includes the Back, Forward, Home buttons and links to the author's email (within the URL/Web address box) and to this Help page (within the Google search box). The email link will open a mail program (if readers have this function available/set-up on their machines). The Help link will direct readers to this page, which features the navigation instructions and an image-map of the site, below.

For a linear reading, readers can navigate forward by using the Forward button, which is hard-coded to guide readers along a particular set of lexias. Note that by using the Forward button, readers will skip over supporting or background materials, such as the literature review, references, and help page. Also, readers can navigate backwards through their viewed webpages using the Back button, which is coded with javascript to go back to the last page viewed. If readers want to skip entire pages in a linear reading, jumping multiple pages backwards or forwards at one time does not work, so it is recommended that readers use the Bookmarks Toolbar instead. (The Reload/Refresh and Stop buttons are grayed out because they are not active in this webtext.)

Bookmarks Toolbar: The bookmarks function as the main navigation of this webtext and work just like bookmarks in a web browser: Clicking on the bookmark label will take readers directly to that particular node. The bookmark navigation options are especially useful if a reader wants to jump multiple pages at once, read all sections of the text, or read in his or her chosen (nonlinear) order. The navigational options on this Bookmarks Toolbar include the following sections: Study Overview, Research Questions, Methodology, The Assessment Tool, Conclusion, References, and Feedback. Some of these 'bookmarks' have multiple pages, which are discussed under Tabbed Navigation, next.

Tabbed Navigation: Only two of the 'bookmarks'—Methodology and The Assessment Tool—have multiple pages, which are designed as tabs. These tabs are meant to mimic tabbed-window navigation in browsers such as Safari and Firefox. Below is a screenshot for reference, since this Help page does not have tabs. (Also, readers might understand the architecture of these tabbed menus by looking at the Site Map at bottom, which is a screenshot of the file/folder structure of this site within Dreamweaver.)

tabbed navigation example

In this example, which is from The Assessment Tool bookmark, there are two rows of tabs: The top row of tabs represents the first layer of navigation within The Assessment Tool bookmark. The second row of tabs represents the second (or sub-section) layer of navigation with The Assessment Tool bookmark. (Subsections are only available in the Print- and Web-Based Conventions tabs.)

The tab text becomes bold to indicate which section/sub-section readers are in. In the above example, readers are here:

The Assessment Tool* > Web-Based Conventions > Form/Content

Readers can then navigate to any of the other sub-sections by using the second row of tabs (e.g., Structure, Links, Multimedia, etc.) in the Web-Based Conventions section or can jump to any of the first row of tabs in The Assessment Tool (e.g., Tool Outline; Print-Based Conventions, which has a similar sub-section menu; Value-Added, etc.).

* Note: Bookmarks in this webtext, as in actual browsers, don't turn bold to indicate which one readers are currently visiting, but in most cases page titles will indicate the reader's position.

External Links

Links that lead away from this webtext appear in this color, rather than blue (the color for internal links). External links will open in a new window.

Site Map


The site was designed by Cheryl Ball using Micrsoft Word 2004 for Mac, Adobe Acrobat 6.0 Professional, Mozilla Firefox, Adobe Photoshop CS, Macromedia Dreamweaver MX 2004, with javascript help from Nic Wolfe ( and CSS help from Karl Stolley and Mike Edwards. The tabbed nav feature is courtesy of SimpleBits Simplified CSS Tabs. The site was tested on a G4 iMac and G4 iBook in Firefox and Safari 2.0.4 (and by others on staff with PCs and other browsers).

Research Questions References Study Overview Home Help Feedback Conclusion Nav Menu (graphic) Site Map (graphic) Value of the Assessment Tool Print the Assessment Tool Tool Outline Visual Design Reader-friendly navigation Node Strategies Nav Design Multimedia incorporation Link Strategies Web Conventions overview Form-Content Relationship Summary of Web Conventions Structural design Hypertextual allowances Tone Category A Print Conventions Overview Documentation Summary of Print Conventions Content Arrangement Selecting Webtexts sections in Kairos Print Scholarship Conventions Constructing the Tool Style Sheet