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Vikas Kamat
 Vikas Kamat is a programmer- entrepreneur living in Birmingham AL. This blog is a complex mix of Indian culture, life in southern USA, computer sciences, and sports. Opinions are his own.
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Navigation for Content Forests Durable Link to this BLOG

Merry Christmas to our readers, friends, and advertisers.

Improving Navigation of Kamat's Potpourri

People still give me a hard time about how difficult it is to navigate the vast contents of this website. What they don't give me credit for is that nobody has even attempted such a complex task as to come up for a "Table of Contents for a Country as Complex as India".

Wikipedia, the closest content forest to Kamat's Potpourri that I can think of, deals with this problem with excessive hyper-linking. I call it the link-fatigue.

Flickr, also the closest picture forest to Kamat's Potpourri that I can think of, deploys the tags excessively -- to the point that there are really inadequate to find a needle in a haystack.

Google's solution of course is to search. But search is not adequate for content discovery; it is great for re-discovery. Ask a librarian, and they will tell you an earful about that problem.

Some years ago, we came up with the "poker face", which allowed me to embed lots of associated pictures in a small area of screen real-estate (shown below). But it is not obvious to a casual viewer that clicking on a red dot can take you to a related picture.

You know, we have implemented all these on Kamat's Popourri.

We have the tag clouds, PICTURESeach, Full Text Search, TOCSeach (Search meta tags), Categorization performed by humans, categorization by Library of Congress subjects. We have the toolbar (on left); we have the bread or cookie crumbs; we have the Wikipedia-like hyperlink navigation (every relevant opportunity to link is utilized), and we have the mind-map (although it is outdated).


And yet, I myself find it difficult to navigate our website and find contents. I have to keep track of 333 languages, 85 castes, 350 famous people, 57 gods, some 300,000 hyperlinks, and myriad of other things. Nobody wants my job.

So this Christmas, I am spending time to improve on the toolbar (preview shown on right), and implementing Flickr-like stub navigation.

Flickr seem to use Flash for their widgets. I don't know Flash and I don't like Flash. So I am playing with AJAX and just old fashioned HTML(an attempt to fit 500 stubs in one page).

My dream is to implement a Navigator like this at Stanford University that the software automatically figures out as the user drills deeper and deeper. I don't think that day is far away.

If you have a clever idea about creating a new type of navigation, please contact me.

Meanwhile, enjoy these experimental collections on: Faces, India Stubs, Misc.Pictures of India

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Friday, December 25, 2009
Last Modified: 12/26/2009 12:49:41 PM

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