Typology of websites on the level of data complexity

Considering the level of complexity of data and applications, four categories of web applications are distinguished:

– presence sites, characterized by a relatively low complexity of data and applications (sites conference);

– service-oriented sites, where the emphasis is on providing advanced services such as search engines, free messaging, etc. ;

– catalog sites, where the emphasis is on the organization and maintenance of a data structure complex, such as academic sites;

– web information systems, which offer users access to an information system at across the web, such as e-commerce sites, intranets, etc.

From our experience in the production and design of websites, they are to be user-friendly, this study was conducted in considering presence sites and catalog sites. In the rest of this document, the use of the term “website” refers to presence sites and sites catalogs. The stages of the development cycle which we concerns the fields of research to which our study relates, and the application framework of our results. The object of the next part is to present the functionalities to be implemented. 

Features to implement for the design of a website

To help a web designer to create an easy to navigate websites, our experience has identified the following four needs, which we present and justify in the rest of this part as functionalities to be implemented:

– Assist the realization of the design process, especially in the case where this designer is a beginner;

– Identify and facilitate the reuse of design solutions to accelerate the definition of content

the website;

– Identify and facilitate the choice of software components in a rational and objective manner;

– Speed up the establishment of a website.

In the completion of the design process, there is no explicit implementation of the development cycle in the development tools: they allow design with varying degrees of assistance, but the designer must know the stages of the process for assistance to be effective.

To implement this functionality, we suggest the following points:

– guide the designer towards the valid stages of the process available to him, taking into account the result of the stage he has just completed;

– assist in carrying out the stages by indicating the information which concerns them (objective, entries, results, methods, support tools, etc.).

Identify and facilitate the reuse of design solutions

It is common to find that the reuse of design solutions depends on the experience of the

designer, and it’s difficult to formalize this experience to facilitate reuse by others designers. However, experience has shown that similar websites have similar menus, similar content that is presented in a similar way, and that families of websites can be defined. However, there is no formalization of this website design experience.

To implement this functionality, we suggest the following points:

– identify and propose design solutions already used in production websites;

– facilitate the reuse of the design solutions retained by the user among the proposals.

Identify and facilitate the choice of software components

Identifying and choosing a software component is a tedious task for designers. Indeed, there is no source of information or repository that allows us to know:

– the various existing components to implement a function;

– formalized user feedback.

The need for a software component therefore invariably leads to questioning on forums or discussion lists to know about the existence of components and to get feedback, or to consult comparison websites. At best, this can quickly lead to reuse always the same components so as not to consume time in research, at worst to carry out specific developments for each need without seeking to identify existing components.

To implement this functionality, we suggest the following points:

– identify existing software components already used by web constructors;

– facilitate the choice of a user component by providing information on the functions of

components and user feedback.

Speed up the establishment of a website

When setting up a website, the designer invariably performs the same repetitive tasks: definition of folders to structure the file tree structure, copying of method or class files generics from previous designs, database generation from design choices, etc.

To implement this functionality, we suggest the following points:

– automatically generate data structures from design choices;

– define a hosting architecture to speed up the design of a new website.

By considering these four functionalities to be implemented, we now present our objectives in taking into account the different choices that we have put forward in this chapter.