Build it right or
Get off the pot!

The object here is to find your document with as little difficulty as possible.

The first frame is for alphabetic search capabilities in case this is feasible. Clicking here would open the catalog alphabetical listings in this frame.

What we're really building here is a card catalog system. Like the library used to be ... before they killed them with computer terminals, i.e. "tunnel vision".

The real method I wish to display is a hierarchy of categories leading to a selected "file". Something like Yahoo ... more or less ... but without the clutter.

My experience (and theoretical reasoning) leads me to select "6" as the best number of things to present to the human mind at one time for perusal. Though, no one is going to die if you stretch it to 10.

Hence, there are six categories to choose from in the first opening box.

Note: The other boxes are to be left initially empty ... no distractions. (This one included)
Then, in the second box six more ... and so on till the last box targets this "object frame".

With four "selection" frames you get 1296 possible pages here. If you have a huge number of pages it may be necessary to "erase and reuse" some of the selection frames to make room ... but this should be avoided if possible.

A good option is to resize the columns, squeezing the first column (and second, third, etc.) down to accomodate more information without completely clearing it. Some Javascript to automatically resize the frame "on mouseover" might be very helpful. And when you click on a selection, the frame would automatically "skinny" down (provided that it is the bottom one in the column).


What we really want to do is make the total number of ...

clicks + (levels of categories x objects in a category) = Least

For instance, you could have access to millions of files with just two clicks ... but you would have to look at an enormous number of categories and listings to find your page. So the advantage of haveing two clicks is lost to "excessive perusal".

In the above example, I have ... four clicks to see 24 objects to be perused. That gives for 1296 things a "score" of 28.

We might try two categories of ten things each ... then there would be 13 things in each category (1296 divided by 100) ... So you would have three clicks and 33 things to peruse giving a score of 36 ... not as good as before (but not toooooo bad).

You see how to calculate your optimum strategy ... It's the same strategy you would use to determine how many votes to seek out in my voting system in "Proper Government". Same, same, all same.


Lastly, you need to

Cross Reference Extensively

so that no matter what path a user might take, he is likely to get what he wants. So in the above example there might be actually only 600 files but listed in different categories so as to be easily found. This type of system requires constant diligence on the part of the librarians.

You can't get this from Yahoo or any other search facility because it would cost too much. What is needed ... and the ONLY thing that will do the trick ... is to have the file maker insert his site into the database and give him the responsibility of cross referencing it ... for a FEE, i.e. Money, in other words $$$$$$$ ! Get it? Charge to list your site. This is the only way this is ever going to work efficiently.


"Now get the hell outta' here
and get me my library back!"
- Ebtx


9/28/99