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Main Topic

1 December 2005
Omer Ben Yehuda
A computer with a drawing on the screen

Have you ever noticed that in nearly every internet website or interant website, the space allocated for different subjects is unequal?

Almost all website managers (regardless of the type of website) knows either methodologically or intuitively that the subject they want to put "stage center" should be distinguished from the other subjects and should be placed "in the first place everyone will see". The ideal placing, the required size and style of highlighting/writing are all subject to the website manager's interpretation. Therefore websites are substantially different from one another, yet everyone agrees that the main subject should be highlighted. The windowlet template in the knowledge website/portal which is supposed to represent the central subject is referred to as a main topic. Why? Quite simply, because its structure enables the marketing and marketing we wish to achieve. The source of the windowlet predates the age of knowledge websites and portals in webzines. Every webzine always contains a cover story or central piece. This is our windowlet; this is the main topic.

The content of the main topic vary between websites or time periods in the same site and the number of options is at least as high as the number of existing websites, yet nevertheless some shared principles:

  • A fixed pattern: the main topic will usually include the following components: a title, a text which contains a summary of the subject, a link to an elaboration on the subject which is usually located in the content tree, a picture/graph linked to the subject. Furthermore, the windowlet will enable access to the archive of subjects previously focused on (approximately the last 15 subjects).

  • A main topic plays a managerial role: it delivers management's messages and/or emphasizes the goals which the knowledge serves.

  • A main topic plays an attracting role: it attracts users who enter the site/portal to access content (which it describes) that are not located at the front, thus attracting workers to different applications and/or various content areas.

  • A main topic plays a marketing role: While the homepage is the website's ID, the main topic is the homepage's ID. As the homepage affects the users' decision whether to return to the website, so does the main topic affect the users' decision whether to return to the homepage.

A main topic appears in various "roles", for example:

  1. Focused Expert: pointing out a manager/expert which can be of assistance.

  2. Focused Worker: pointing out a functionary and his/her work.

  3. Focused Website: pointing out knowledge sub-websites in the organization.

  4. Focused Procedure: a procedure we wish to refresh.

  5. Subject Focused: subject currently discussed. Etc.

In conclusion, here are a few tips for managing a main topic on the homepage:

  1. Due to its externalization, it intuitively reflects on the website's update indicator. It is important to replace in frequently.

  2. Since it is a subject usually opened the most and first, it is important that its contents express the essence of website or management's messages. Cry wolf twice and it instantly loses its effectiveness.

  3. Enable access to the 'previous subjects' archive (approximately the last 15 subjects).

  4. On the one hand, keep a fixed template of the main topic, i.e. its location in the homepage and simplicity of operation. On the other hand, include different variations of content and character. The more the subject will be perceived as interesting, so will the website.

  5. Maintain promotional value-both of the windowlet's form and of its content. Remember, this is "the homepage's homepage".

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