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Links, Rollovers, Issues, Oh My!

The Smallest Things Right in Front of Us...

Screenshot Pictured to the right is a portion of the first page of Browse by Issues. It show a portion of the Navigation Bar a the leading portions of the first few lines in the Listing Area . Within this portion of a screen shot, examples of links, rollovers, icon links, combined Series and Issues links, and more are all visible. Surprisingly, upon first inspection, it may all look the same. But, with consistent usage in the interface throughout the XOWComics.com site, these all become simple and powerful tools to help you navigate.

Links: consider first what is actually clickable in the interface. Everything displayed in this screen shot is clickable with the exception of the text in black. This means all of the text in blue, all of the icons (e.g. Facebook and Twitter, green Help balloon, Next Page, and Issue Images icons) and even the enterable areas for Searching and Page Navigation are clickable for additional functionality. Each may provide functionality in different ways. And, each may even provide the additional functionality without even clicking on them.

It is important to remember though that almost every interactive piece of the interface in the XOWComics.com site has a "Help Tip". A Help Tip is a short explanation automatically displayed of what can be done with what the mouse is pointing at. Often, for links, this text will describe what page the link will take you to. For rollover menus (see below), the Help Tip will be displayed for the main item along with the content of the rollover menu itself.

Rollover Menus: most text items in the Navigation Bar are actually rollover menus. Rollover menus supply a list of options to choose from when pointed at; the list of options is displayed automatically when you are pointing with your mouse. It is not uncommon for rollover menus to be called option menus, or just menus. In the XOWComics.com site, the rollover menus display merely by pointing, no clicking or further interaction is required to display the contents of a rollover menu.

Icons: in this screen shot, you can see first just next to the enterable Searching area a green word balloon icon. This icon always provides a link to Help for the item it is next to.

Next you see icons for Facebook and Twitter; these are standard icons you see on many sites on the internet. They obviously link to the Facebook and Twitter pages for XOWComics.com.

In the Pagination Bar, you see an arrow icon for going to the next page in the listing of items. Finally, in the Listing Area itself you see icons for showing the Issue Images for each row in the listing. Of course, the Issue Image icon in the Pagination Bar will sort on this column of information, instead, where the icon displayed for each row will show directly the Issue Images for the Issue shown in the row.

For all of these icons and many more used throughout the site, consulting the Icon Legend page will help immensely. The Icon Legend page always contains a full listing of all of the icons used throughout the XOWComics.com site. With each is a show title and explanation of the functionality provided. Taking two minutes to read the Icon Legend page can save you hours of time when using the XOWComics.com site.

Issues: finally, what is probably the most subtle usage of links within the XOWComics.com site. When Issues are displayed, the name of the Series is shown with the Issue Number following. If there is a Issue Volume, that will also be displayed.

For the examples shown in the screen shot, the Series is "!Gag". Issue Number "1" and Issue Number "2" are both being displayed. Note the Issue Number is always shown with a "#" sign before the actual Issue Number. When available, an Issue Volume will always be shown with a "v" before the actual values.

Now, though it appears this is all a single link, that is actually not the case. Throughout the XOWComics.com site, the exact format described above is used to display individual Issues. And, the linking is always such that you can go to the Series Detail page or the Issue Detail page.

Clicking on the Series Title portion will take you to the Series Detail page; clicking on the Issue Number, or Issue Volume when available, will take you to the Issue Detail page.

Remembering this single aspect about the display and linking of Issues within the XOWComics.com site will aid you considerably as you navigate the site. It provides for you the most functionality in the smallest amount of space.

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