A theme through this weeks reading was an acknowledgment that the web is becoming increasingly complex and dynamic. A few examples:
“with websites becoming more dynamic, the notion of one page “belonging” to another is becoming an increasingly antiquated concept. The meaningful relationships between content may not be hierarchal.” [emphasis added]
“As web sites become more complex and dense with information, it will be more difficult to capture all that information in a simple two-dimensional map.”
“A “Page” on the web continues to lose coherence as a discrete location.”
“can site maps deal with trends arounds social networking and user-generated content?”
A hierarchal structure of pages is becoming an antiquated concept. Sites are dynamically generating new structures and layout based on specific contexts tailored to different users. The ‘page’ doesn’t’ make sense as the dominant node in many flows and site maps because a single page might encompass the majority of an interaction with a site. We need to move beyond the page and simple hierarchal relationships to focus on elements within the page and more complex and dynamic relationships. This presents a challenge for designing structure and navigation, and what tools and models designers use to work with increasingly complex models.
I’ve been encountering a lot of these issues as I work on my project for this class (WordPress.com). Because the readings this week discussed some of the challenges I’ve been encountering I hoped they would provide some recommendations and strategies for working with these more complex and dynamic sites, but they mostly didn’t. Working on these types of problems is fun and challenging because its a wild west of IA. No one knows the best way to approach these problems, and there is a lot of experimentation going on. There probably won’t be a specific approach, but lots of different strategies, tools, and methods to design for an increasingly complex web.