Navigating the Hypertextbook


Since we have all of the flexibility and tools of the web at our disposal, we are constructing the hypertextbook to be accessible to students at all academic levels.  There are thus three tracks through the hypertextbook—for novice, intermediate, and advanced students, respectively.

Ski Slope Model

To make navigation of the hypertextbook through these various levels intuitive and clear, we have adopted the international ski terrain symbols and colors as identifying elements throughout to help you choose and stay on the right path.

Ski Trail Map of Bridger Bowl Near Bozeman, Montana, USA

At most ski resorts patrons are able to obtain maps of the ski trails.  Trails are marked with green circles, blue squares, and black diamonds (or double black diamonds).  Green circle trails are for beginners, blue square trails are for skiers with intermediate skills, and black diamond trails are very challenging and open to experts, whereas double black diamond trails are for the insane only. From the top of a ski lift it isn't always possible to know whether a particular path will take you onto uncomfortable terrain or not.  It's good to have a map.

In general, the various tracks through the hypertextbook have features or content more relevant to the level of the presentation.

  Green Circle Track (Novice)

     The green circle level is designed for novice students.  It has

  Blue Square Track (Intermediate)

 The blue square level is for intermediate students (e.g., students in years 3 and 4 of a microbiology or related major).  It features

  Black Diamond Track (Advanced)

The black diamond level is designed for advanced students (e.g., advanced year 4 and graduate students).  It promotes

At this point our focus is on the undergraduate level green and blue tracks.  Few black diamond tracks are planned for Version 4.

Navigating the Hypertextbook Levels

As already stated, the hypertextbook is designed to help you choose the correct track for your level of learning and to stay on it.  However, just as it is with skiing, there are no rules that require you to stay on a particular track.  You may be a novice who wants to see what the intermediate and advanced tracks look like, or vice versa.  Have at it.

We have incorporated a consistent theme throughout the hypertextbook to help you

Getting on Track

The "section" dropdown menu found in the top margin of each standard content page provides section names for the current chapter.  These names are preceded by one or more of the symbols, ,  or . Clicking on the appropriate symbol will take you to the listed section at the level you want.  It's that simple.

Staying on Track

Once you have selected a section by way of its level, all pages in that section are in the same level.  You merely need to click the "next" and "previous" links in the bottom margin of a page to stay within the pages of that section on the selected track.

Moving Between Tracks

To move to the same topic on a different track, just access the "section" dropdown menu in the top margin of the page again and select click on a different track icon ( ,  or )  for the same section.

Knowing Which Track You Are On at a Glance

Once you have selected a track, all of the pages on that track will have visual cues that indicate the track level. The top, left, right, and bottom margins will have background colors that are green, blue, or black (gray), matching the green circle track, the blue square track, or the black diamond track, respectively.  Additionally, the biofilms hypertextbook icon in the upper left corner will be one of the following


where the leftmost icon is associated with the green track, the middle icon with the blue track, and the rightmost icon with the black track.  Finally, section titles, image borders, and other stylistic aspects of a page are colored with the chosen track color.

General Pages

There are a number of general pages, such as the one your are reading right now, in the hypertextbook.  For these pages we use a brown theme (notice the top, left, right, and bottom margin colors on this page).  We also use the "all tracks" biofilms hypertextbook icon

on such pages as a further visual cue that you are in a non-tracked area of the hypertextbook meant for users at all levels.