Eric Wolfram's Acknowledgments and Thoughts About this Site

About This site

Notice of Appreciation and Acknowledgment

The structure and layout of My home site,, was created as a personal study in web site usability. I followed (most of) the advice and I pay heavy homage to a leader in useable design, Jakob Nielsen. Many of the concepts underlying the structure of this site reflect his teachings. Learn more about web site usability by reading Jakob Nielsen's books and web site -- I also learned a lot from the teachings of Philip Greenspun and the good people at OpenACS.

Why I built this site

Beyond building this site as a personal study in information design, this site is a result of the combination of my beliefs in: Honesty, openness, organization and freedom of information. First, these beliefs effected my business life and then I understood that I needed a personal site too.

For my personal example, people ask why I built this site before they realize that it saves me enormous amounts of time. Over the course of the year, when the topics comes up; my friends, clients, associates and strangers quickly get exact details about where I danced, what my business accomplishments are, my family history, impressions on movies I've seen, web links that I like, my photo albums, and tons of other tremendous details of boring (but extremely helpful) stuff like -- what's on the video tape that I shot on July 31, 2002. So imagine: I'm at someone's house and someone asks about my wedding. If there is a web browser around, I show them. If someone writes an email and asks what services I provided to Goldman Sachs, or how much I would charge for editing a video -- it takes me 2 seconds to respond. So I built this site to learn and to save me time. I NEVER have to dig through an old hard drive to find copies of the stories I've written.

What I Have learned so Far

By building this site, I have learned, and I continue to learn, many things.

This Site Scores High in Google
For starters, I learned this site scores very well in Google search engine. I wrote an article so you can score higher on Google search engine too.

This site is easy to scale
I've learned that this site is easy to maintain and scale. Scaling, or making a web site bigger, becomes difficult with global navigation -- for a few reasons. Typically, global navigation is the group of links that are on every page of a site, stuff like; "view your cart", "support", "contact us", or "About Us". Most sites rely on global navigation exclusively or heavily.

Almost all sites have some sort of global navigation -- an unchanging area on every page of the site, which is devoted to navigating to other areas of the site. doesn't have an area for global navigation. The only global navigation on this site is that "search" link in the upper right corner (the link in the upper left corner is not really global navigation, even though it is on every page of the site, it is actually an important part of the context sensitive navigation.)

Finally, I don't have to go to photoshop every time I want to make a new link on my site. There are no "buttons" on this site -- not .gif or .jpg image files that are used for navigation. Try it!

Context Sensitive Navigation Rules! uses context sensitive navigation -- Yahoo! style -- or some people call it cookie crumb navigation; basically, it rules! I'm learning to love, working with, and maintaining, sites that use the sleek style of context specific navigation. And not just because they're easier to scale. It's FAR more functional and useful for my needs.

Another way to look at it: site has many "home" pages, not just one. The whole site is a "home" page. Most people arrive at, not from the front page, but from a search engine that points deep into the structure. For instance, they arrive at a dance home page, a film home page, a writing home page, ect. When someone finds my film page, for instance, they _tend_ to stay in the film area and click up the tree to find more details of my films. So they learn more about my films until they are interested enough to see who's behind all this, which is when they look down the tree towards the root.

So this site is very useful to me because I can show people information about my films without forcing them to consider navigating to something as cheesy as my poetry or my wedding photos, which is what I'd have to do if I used typical global navigation.

Therefore, another benefit of cookie crumb navigation is that when people land on certain areas of your site, they may not know about the other areas of your site, but may have plenty options related to what they are seeing and they are free to discover them.

The Ads on this Site

I put Google AdSense ads on this site to help people who are looking for information that is not on my pages. I also did it, of course, to see what revenue I could generate.

Complete list of Eric Wolfram's Accomplishments | Notice of Copyright