Visualizing Web Pages May 28, 2006Posted by Michael McVey in Online Tools.
(Author's Note: I apologize for my absence over the past two weeks. Whatever I had knocked the wind out of my sails and made the writing process seem less like a great adventure and more like a dark dull chore.)
A few years ago, I attempted to explain the structure of a discussion list with the analogy of a feather boa. The inner thread was the temporal axis. Each feather represented a discussion topic. Some discussion topics were brief and airy while others were fat and lengthy. They all fed into the boa and added to the complete experience. The list went in no particular direction but the sum total of the words written on the list went toward the definition of itself in cyberspace and cyber time. The list took on a shape and form and the best analogy for me was the feather boa.
Now I have encountered a great tool for visualizing a simple web page. http://www.aharef.info/static/htmlgraph/ This tool excites me as it might help in the analysis of my discussion lists at another time. This tool requires you to simply type in a web address (URL) and then an embedded applet translates the different links, images, tags, tables, block quotes, and other elements of a web page into dots of color connected to each other.
In the image above you can see a map of a class I am teaching this summer called “Computer Applications and Educational Administration.” Since I have use the block quote function to neaten up the page, you see a core of orange dots surrounded by link to the article and the occasional web page with forms and a very few images. Try inputting a few of your favorite sites into the tool and watch as your web site evolves. Some of my favorites to try are apple.com with its simple look and so many links to forms that one part resembles a yellow sea urchin.
This image represents the archives for my discussion list and had not finished loading. It would have kept going for 10,000 archive entries so I stopped it when the pattern emerged.