Update on APS's Home on the Web

The APS world-wide-web site continues to develop and grow, and now is a good time for another update, since the September 1995 Observer review of the APS Internet home page. A number of changes have been initiated to improve the site’s utility to our web visitors.

These changes take two main forms: structural enhancements that improve how the pages of the web site operate and new links that have been added.

One of the changes is the fact that we now keep the last two months of the APS Observer Employment Bulletin on the site instead of only the most current month. This change was piloted at the beginning of October, in part to accommodate job listings whose application deadlines were not tied to a given month or time period.

To date, solicited feedback from users has been unanimously in favor of this change. Based on one of the user’s comments, the URLs (or web address) for the most recent month and the month just past will be constant, so users can point directly to one or the other.

For example, to search the current month’s job listings, the URL is: http://www.hanover.edu:70/77m/Hanover_College_Information/Psychology/APS/APS-Jobs_html/current.html

While the URL to search the last month’s job listings is: http: //www.hanover.edu:70/77m/Hanover_College_Information/Psychology/APS/APS-Jobs_html/old.html

Or, since the Employment Bulletin also now has its own home page, users may find that the easiest way to access all the ads (and the subject indexes) simultaneously is to point to the following URL: http://psych.hanover.edu/APS/employment.html

These changes were made in conj unction with placing the Employment Bulletin on html so that the format for reading the job ads would be much better on web browsers, producing a more pleasing visual presentation.

Register Your Preference

Our reliance on user input to help decide how best to develop the APS home pages is also being applied to the structure of the APS home page. The long table of contents has become unwieldy for some, and a redesign has seemed in order. Unfortunately, there are no applicable human factors guidelines on how to best construct such a page, so a few versions of the APS home page have been constructed, and a form is available for users to register their preference and give comments.

The URL of this form, which will allow you to see all the versions of the home page present, is: http://psych.hanover.edu/APS/indexvote.html

If one version is an overwhelming favorite, then we will select that one. But if there is no obvious favorite, then more than one version of the APS home page will be maintained. Some of the issues currently being examined in the various home page layouts are whether to use a table of contents list or a table with rows and columns of links.

The table of contents allows for more explanation of the links and is usable by all web browsers but is long and runs off the screen. The table format puts more information on the screen by using several links on a row.

Another issue being evaluated is the number of links that should be on an initial home page. Fewer links keeps the page visually simple but requires the user to possibly go much deeper into the page to find desired information. More links keeps the number of pages to a minimum but may make finding the desired link more difficult since it would be buried in a long list.

New Links

In addition to these structural changes, there have been many new links added. Just a few will be highlighted here. As always, new links for the APS pages are posted as they are added to the What’s New page at URL: http://psych.hanover.edu/APS/WhatsNew.html

One of the new links of possible interest to readers is the World-wide Academic Visitor Exchange (WAVE). The Worldwide Academic Visitor Exchange facilitates contact between traveling scientists and prospective hosts in two ways: (1) allowing the traveler to post his/her itinerary in a searchable database, and (2) allowing a search of the database, if your department is interested in hosting visitors. This search even can be automated.

Another interesting site is that of publisher W.W. Norton, which has developed a web site with ancillary materials for Henry Gleitman’s famous introductory psychology textbook. In addition to the electronic versions of the transparencies, this site has on-line readings, links to other useful web pages, newsgroups, and public-access software, all organized around the text’s table of contents.

Rapid Growth

The list of academic departments with a home page is growing rapidly; in fact, it is the most rapidly growing section of the APS pages. The list is organized both alphabetically and by location, to facilitate the user finding the desired sites.

Since September, over 50 schools have been added to the list. New schools are being added constantly. And, over the next several months, a systematic effort will be underway to compile a list of as many departments as possible. We hope then to add these to the APS page and incorporate links to these web sites.

As always, input from the users of the pages is welcome. Contact APS Director of Communications Lee Herring (lherring@info.cren.net) at the APS office or contact John Krantz krantzj@hanover.edu) at Hanover College. Comments have, and continue, to drive many of the changes to these pages. In addition, if you know of links that we do not have but which ought to be on the APS pages, please email the APS site. It is through users that most of the new links are added.

Observer Vol.9, No.1 January, 1996

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