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((((((((((((((((( WEBREFERENCE UPDATE NEWSLETTER ))))))))))))))))) JANUARY 04, 1999


This newsletter is sponsored by Keynote Systems and CyberSites. __________________________________________________________________

+----------------------------------------------------------------+ FREE PERFORMANCE APPRAISAL OF YOUR E-COMMERCE WEB SITE Are you losing customers or revenue because your web site is too slow or slower than your competitors? Are your Internet providers delivering the speed and service they promised? Measure, assure and improve your web-site quality of service from 35 cities worldwide -- for one week, for free. http://www.keynote.com/adv/wrn8.html >From Keynote Systems, the Internet Performance Authority. +----------------------------------------------------------------+

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New this week on WebReference.com and the Web:

1. DOC JAVASCRIPT: DOCJSLIB Version 4.0: Scrollers, Watermarks, and Games 2. GIORDAN ON GRAPHICS: Web site Makeover - Microtech International 3. DHTML LAB: HierMenus CENTRAL 4. E-COMMERCE WATCH: Growing a Tree Of Trust -- Part One 5. UPDATE: Universal Related Scrolling Menus v1.1 6. NEW LINKS: Internet Security 7. INTERVIEW: Information Architect Lou Rosenfeld 8. NEW SITE: mylook.com 9. OTHER VOICES: Book Review: StrikingItRich.com

Spread the word! Feel free to send a copy of this newsletter to your friends and colleagues, and while you're at it, snap a link to WebReference.com.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 1. DOC JAVASCRIPT: DOCJSLIB Version 4.0: Scrollers, Watermarks, and Games

The DOC's expanded his library code to include APIzed versions of his cross-browser scroller and watermarking software. With the new library, he shows how you can streamline the scroller code and not worry about messy browser detection. By Dr. Yehuda Shiran.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 2. GIORDAN ON GRAPHICS: Web site Makeover - Microtech International

A behind-the-scenes look at a site redesign that accommodates Microtech's increasing traffic and communication requirements. Dan profiles the process, considering issues such as traffic patterns, navigation, and of course, graphics and layout issues. By Dan Giordan.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 3. DHTML LAB: HierMenus CENTRAL

Everything you've always wanted to know about the hierarchical menus script in one easy-to-navigate site. Download the latest version, read the new FAQ or jump to the relevant columns for a line-by-line discussion. An added bonus for you menu buffs: Version 4.0 beta 1! Try it out and give us your feedback. By Peter Belesis.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 4. E-COMMERCE WATCH: Growing a Tree Of Trust -- Part One

Planting the seeds for a Public Key Infrastructure can bring you closer to the ultimate in security solutions. Learn what it takes to grow your own tree of trust that protects you, your employees, and your customers from all forms of nasty security problems. By Mark Merkow.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 5. UPDATE: Universal Related Scrolling Menus v1.1

We found and squashed two bugs in these handy live popdown and scrolling menus. Early versions of Netscape and Explorer choked on referencing named forms, we'll show you the workaround. By Andrew King.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 6. NEW LINKS: Internet Security

>Internet Security

They say it's always better to be safe than sorry. These resources can show you how to protect your valuable data. http://www.webreference.com/internet/security.html

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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 7. INTERVIEW: Information Architect Lou Rosenfeld

Amazon recently picked _Information Architecture for the World Wide Web_ as the best computer book of 1998. Unlike other how-to books on the Web this book takes a higher level approach to large-scale Web site design. The book is really an info architect's handbook: it shows the entire process of designing large-scale site design and redesign.


The book was written by two fellow Ann-Arborites, Lou Rosenfeld and Peter Morville, both hold Masters in Information and Library Studies. They've taken the knowledge and experience they've acquired through their work and studies, translated for the Web, and distilled it all down into this unique book.

The book is packed with useful information on making your site easier to navigate and scale in size gracefully. Topics include how to effectively organize information, navigation design, labeling and searching systems, plus the entire process of site rearchitecture. Every time I read this book I find something new I can use on WebReference, for example last night I changed the global navigation bar. It now has five unambiguous options ("newsletter" instead of the mysterious "update"). The navigation, labeling, and searching sections are especially useful.

I caught up with coauthor Lou Rosenfeld and interviewed him about his best-selling book:

> How do you feel about winning Amazon's award?

"We're not going to Disneyland, but we're pretty danged thrilled that Somebody Up There (maybe Jeff Bezos?) likes us... We've been evangelizing information architecture for years, and we're grateful that so many readers have been receptive to our book."

> Summarize what the book's about for me, in your own words.

"Two main sections comprise the guts of the book. The first set of chapters helps you understand the foundations of information architecture: ways of organizing your information, how to label it, how to design systems for navigating it, and how to make searching it easier for users. The second section places information architecture within the broader context of the site development process, from research to conceptual design to production, and provides practical advice to get you through that process (e.g., useful exercises for your team to complete at each step of the way). Our goal is not to supply readers with the "perfect information architecture" for their sites (there is no such thing); instead, we try to provide a framework, terminology, and a process to help readers make informed decisions and develop better information architectures."

> Do you plan a sequel/second edition?

"We're in the midst of discussions with O'Reilly; it's not yet clear to us whether it makes sense to write a second edition, write another book, or pursue something else entirely. Since we wrote this book, we've learned a lot much more about information architecture and feel that our book covers only part of the story. XML and other innovations are pushing "bottom up" (document-level) information architecture to the fore, and we're really looking forward to writing about this topic, regardless of the venue. We've just begun to scratch the surface in some of our recent "Web Architect" columns in Web Review Magazine."


> How has the book changed your life?

"Well, the polar bear on the cover means I have yet one more inexplicable thing to explain to my parents about my career... Seriously, even if the reviews hadn't been so positive, the fact that the book is selling so well means that readers are recognizing that their sites already have information architectures and that these architectures could be much better, regardless of whether they agree with our advice on how to make these improvements."

> How many copies of the book have been sold?

"One part of the mystique of being an O'Reilly author is that as soon as your book ships, a shiny O'Reilly truck pulls into your driveway and uniformed O'Reilly professionals install a patented naugahyde-clad "Salesometer" in your living room. Unfortunately, it's currently in the blink. So we're guessing that our book has sold about 20,000 copies."

This book should be on the desk of anyone creating a Web site.

Information Architecture for the World Wide Web Louis Rosenfeld and Peter Morville O'Reilly, 1998. $24.95 ISBN: 1-56592-282-4


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 8. NEW SITE: mylook.com

Mylook.com acts like your own custom portal and shows what's happening right now on the Web. It displays the latest headlines/ features from numerous sources, plus real-time Web cams. All media sources are customizable and updated continuously using unobtrusive robot technology.

The site defaults to popular news/content sources in various categories (technology, business, sports...) and bubbles up the latest headlines to the top of the page. You can change the default news sources, live Web cams, and page layout to your liking in the preferences area, and mylook remembers your settings.

The site was developed by JJ, a 24 year-old programmer to challenge the current politics and limitations of commercial portal sites (who usually carry only their own or their partner's news). He says he needed to redirect his neglected energy toward something worthwhile. JJ says he lives in Denver, CO and "mainly lives off of strong caffeinated beverages." JJ's done a superb job, and the site is a great way to keeping up with the news you'll use.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 9. OTHER VOICES: Book Review: StrikingItRich.com

Profiles of 23 Incredibly Successful Websites You've Probably Never Heard Of! If you'd like to make money from your Web site, find out how others have managed to do just that. http://www.webdeveloper.com/reviews/book38.html

That's it for this week, see you next time.

Andrew King Managing Editor, WebReference.com update@webreference.com

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