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Organization's Knowledge Base Website Templates

1 February 2011
Keren Harel
A hand touching a screen

Where's Wally (also known as Where's Waldo in the US) is a series of children's picture books created by British illustrator Martin Handford? The books ask readers to search for "Waldo," a man dressed in a red-and-white striped shirt, blue jeans, brown boots, walking stick, glasses, and his bobble hat amongst a densely illustrated crowd... Find Waldo in the image...Did you find Waldo?

Where’s Waldo? In the Waldo activities, a reader views a colorful display of many people and an object engaged in diverse activities and has to find one specific “Waldo” within the scene. Waldo can be challenging to find because he shares features with many of the other people and objects in the scene.

A theory of visual attention proved that when searching visually for an object (target), we tend to be much more efficient and quick to spot it when it differs from the surrounding objects (distracters) for its physical and visual characteristics. The ability to consciously locate an object (target) amongst other visual stimuli (distracters) is a task that each one of us does every day, every hour and everywhere. This task relies on the ability of the brain of ignoring certain visual elements and focusing on others that make an object standing out from the rest as well as being able to process visual information in parallel. The so-called visual "efficient search" is efficient though as long as the item that you are looking for has one or more visual features that make it stands out from the rest of the crowd. If the object/element you are looking for shares one or more features with the rest of the surrounding items the visual search becomes dramatically inefficient. Where's Waldo?This understanding is relevant to knowledge management. As we all know, Knowledge Management deals with retaining, sharing, structuring and developing knowledge, using well-known methodologies, and serving organizational goals.Generally, Information design deals with presenting the information in the page we've reached and presenting it in a manner which enables to comprehend its content quickly and easily. Templates are a typical implementation of internal information design. They define fixed rules regarding the work format. The advantage of using templates is the cognitive conservation when mapping the received stimuli.


Back to our Waldo metaphor: When your Web pages are well-structured and your audience is able to quickly scan the information you share with them, then you will have a significantly better chance of finding “Waldo.”

To provide a meaningful experience to our users, it’s essential that we are consistent in both the design and content of our websites. Below are tips to help your organization implement a useful website template:


Consistency - This overall look and feel of the site should be consistent across all of the site's pages in one specific style. According to Nielsen, “Consistent systems will make the user dare to explore the system and learn more, the same info should always be in the same position and look similar. If the user knows that the same command always has the same effect he will be more confident when using the system.” However, not every page on the site should have the same layout. Instead, we should create different templates for specific types of pages (e.g., a layout for informational pages, etc.), and by using those templates consistently, we'll make easier for visitors to understand what type of information they're likely to find on a given page.

Simplicity - Most visitors visit a portal/web pages in order to complete some action/task, or to find some specific information. Simplicity is essential. It can be applied in a variety of different ways. Here are some examples:

  • Colors. Don't use too many. The Handbook of Computer-Human Interaction recommends using a maximum of five (plus or minus two) different colors in your website's design.

  • Typefaces. A common recommendation is to use a maximum of three different typefaces in a maximum of three different sizes.

  • Graphics. Only use them if they'll help a user complete a task or perform a specific function.

Visual Hierarchy - Refers to the arrangement or presentation of elements in a way that implies importance. In other words, by adjusting the position, color, or size of specific features, we can structure our site in such a way that visitors will be drawn to those elements first.

In conclusion, the Organization's knowledge base website templates refer to the basic framework and structure of the website – It determines where the text content, navigation, images and other important elements are placed on the site. If these common website elements are in the same place on every page, it means visitors spend less time trying to use website and more time engaging with its content.

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