Continuing education

The audiences for heuristic, self-directed learning will chafe at design strategies that are too restrictive or linear. The typical corporate or academic user of such sites is usually fairly knowledgeable in the subject area. The Web is an ideal medium for "just in time" training, where users pick just the specific topic where they need education. Flexible, interactive, nonlinear design structures are ideal for these readers because it is difficult to predict exactly which topics will most interest them. The design must permit fast access to a wide range of topics and is typically dense with links to related material within the local site and beyond on the World Wide Web. Text-based lists of links work well here for tables of contents and indexes because they load fast and are full of information, but well-designed graphics and illustrations are also needed so that this easily bored audience will stay involved with the material. Contact times are unpredictable but are often shorter than for training or teaching sites because the readers are usually under time pressure. Easy printing options are another must for this audience.

Screen shot: Set of pages from Cardiothoracic Imaging site