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The Internet is a virtual landscape. Any effective website works the way you walk down a street or along a garden path.

Remember back in ancient times, that is, the beginning of the nineties when the Internet was called the Information Highway? Notice that this set of connected "pages" or screens of information that you are reading is called a website. You enter the website at a homepage (usually) and navigate through -- the trace of your activities, the links you followed, and the pages you visited is called your path. And what is the name of that browser, Netsc…what? Trianon, Versailles
Typical Website User Path Although heavily influenced by tested concepts in graphic design and visual design, by marketing principles, and by the momentum of developers that understands web design from a builder's, not user's, point of view, the way we move around in a website is analogous to the way we move around the everyday landscape. OK, maybe "landscape" is a somewhat strange word to you -- don't landscapers just plant flowers???! Then call it the everyday "environment" if you are ecologically-connected, or your everyday "neighbourhood" if you feel comfortable from your home base.
When you leave home (your real home), for example, you know where you are going with reference to that starting place. You recognize landmarks along the way. Similarly, within any website, the homepage fulfills critical functions to your ability to move around a website. To begin, it gives you a map of the territory: devices include the menu bar, subsidiary links and choices. Homepage acts as an important reference when you are out in the website: it is like a landmark -- you can always hit "home" or the logo of the organization in the upper left corner and return to your starting point if you get lost. Many sites now also use a "bread-crumb" trail which tells you the descending line of pages from homepage to the page you are looking at.


BUT What happens if you get lost???!!!

Townscape plan, G.Cullen
Harvard GSD: webtraffic model

Website Usability is equivalent to Landscape Legibility