Navigating the Web

by JL Beeken on 4-29-2007

I’m not an Internet genius or anything but it’s been brought to my attention that some people do not know how to navigate the web or even single websites in the most basic manner. This would not be only cousin Sam although Sam is over at her house still doing the strangest things with her poor old computer. On a good day she can extract a photo from an email in under an hour. Sam is more of a knitting/sewing sort of person.

This is how Sam gets around in my website. She clicks on JLog in her favorites list, and reads a post. Then she closes her browser, and opens it again, clicks JLog in her favorites list and reads another post, then she closes the browser and opens it again, goes to JLog in her favorites list, reads another post and so on and so on til her fingers feel more like knitting something.

I would too. I’m trying not to get a headache from this. I tried to explain web buttons and how buttons = links and it didn’t help a whole lot. To Sam a button is something you sew on a jacket.

JLog
text link

button link

People who build websites put a lot of time and effort into strategic placement of links to make both local and global navigation easy. If you see a thing that looks like a button, (without the holes for thread) with text on top of it, it goes somewhere probably. So click on it and go somewhere. If it doesn’t go somewhere it’s just decoration. OK, good.

Second thing: You know how sometimes you click on a header in your Google/Yahoo/MSN search results and a window comes up saying “ERROR, this page doesn’t exist anymore” and how that can just tick you off having to click for nothing? And you think why can’t people just get more organized and stop making me look at stuff that doesn’t exist, you bunch of #$%^&#@.

Well, because, it doesn’t really work like that. The Internet is constantly changing. Some websites haven’t changed in ten years, mine is changed almost daily. Pages come, pages go.

The search engines are running around as fast as they can finding the new pages, and deleting the now-non-existent ones. Google, for instance, gets around to my website every couple of weeks. Maybe less, maybe more. It’s all top secret what they do and when. So, if a person removes a page from their website, it’s gone, yes, but Google keeps a cache of the last time it indexed that page.

If you click on “cached” in the search results, instead of being irritated at someone wasting another two seconds of your time, you will see the most recently indexed version of the page you want. It takes the search engines awhile to catch up. There’s Real Time and Search Engine Indexing Time. The cached page will automatically highlight your search term for you and it will get you into the website where you’ll be back in Real Time, assuming the rest of the website still exists.

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