The aim of this web site is to become a useful biochemistry resource (for both the department and the world at large) by having relevant information updated constantly throughout the day. As the web site develops it becomes a work tool for all staff as well as a resource instrument for students. To accomplish this aim the following principles are being used in its design:
Template & Stylesheet Driven Pages
As of 21/10/2003, the majority of the pages and sections within the website are based on a common template, with text content being imported from a database and formatted according to a common stylesheet. This makes for a consistent look across the whole website and the advantage of "time-stamped" pages (like this one) which tell you when the information was last updated and who edited it.
This method of constructing a website also gives consistent sections/subsections and navigation links, which now function according to predefined database structures rather than page-by-page hand-coded means.
3 Click Information Search
When using the site, any information you require should never be more than three clicks away from the page you are currently on.
Every site should have easy navigation. This site has an intuitive navigation system, based on a filing cabinet with tabs metaphor. The main section tabs at the top of the page light up and move upwards when you select them, and show you their immediate subsections as clickable text links below the tab.
Having selected a given section, that tab stays up as an indication of which top level section you are in. As you navigate to lower subpages you get a "breadcrumb trail" on the left of your page, shown as white text on a dark blue background.
When you navigate to any given section or subsection, the "tree branches" of pages and subsections available from your current location are displayed as bullet point style links as black text on a pale blue background on your left. This is headed "In This Section:". Every section and subsection has its own introduction/home page and clicking the link "Section Home" will take you to a given section's introduction page.
As this web site provides a large amount of information to its users, it is important that the data is condensed and manageable. It is hoped that with these simple guides, solutions to common department problems will be achieved in 10 steps or fewer.
Microsoft's "Active Server Pages" technology has been used in many ways to enhance this website. The page you are looking at now is one such page with the text drawn from a database and placed into a standard template to make the whole site consistent in terms of look and navigation. Pages are timestamped when they are edited to let you see how current the information is.