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Lesson 4The Web Interaction Model
Objective Describe Function of the Web Interaction Model.

Describe Function of the Web Interaction Model

The Web Interaction Model provides you with another way of understanding how Web processes work together. This model accounts not only for hardware, software, and networks, but also for the user's experience. The Web Interaction Model is based on the idea of a series of layers operating dynamically, with each layer responding to input and data from the other layers
The following diagram illustrates the Web Interaction Model:

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  1. Signs and Metaphors: Signs are visual markings or sounds that present information. Metaphors cue users about the functionality of the site, through the use of icons or images. Metaphors cue users about the functionality of the site through the use of icons or images. Together, Signs and Metaphors create the look and feel of the site.
  2. Information Architecture: Information Architecture organizes Signs and Metaphors into a cohesive structure. In addition, it lays down the path for navigating through the site.
  3. Software: Software comprises underlying components (applications) that enable the display of Signs and Metaphors. In addition, software creates, stores, and manages all resources available over the Web.
  4. Networks and the Internet: A network is a series of computers that communicate with each other. Common protocols used on the Internet are TCP, IP, HTTP, FTP, and SMTP (the Internet email protocol).
  5. Hardware: Hardware includes the user's computer equipment, also Web servers, database servers, mail servers, domain name servers, and firewall servers. On the network side, hardware includes modems, routers, hubs, and other network equipment; phone lines; and data lines (DSL, T1, OC12, etc.).

Signs Metaphors Information Architecture

Limitations of the Web Interaction Model

You should keep in mind that there is overlap between the layers of the model. Each layer represents a discrete element of the Web. In some cases, elements support the layers above them, but in all cases, each layer is affected by the others. This model makes distinctions among the elements of the Web, so you can consider your options for each element independently when you are clarifying your Web site needs. Your organization's business goals should drive the choices made at each layer.
When planning a Web site, look at more than one element. Consult all team members for input in their area of expertise. End user satisfaction is affected by every component and layer of your Web site.

Question: What is the difference between the first two layers, Signs and Metaphors and Information Architecture?
Signs and Metaphors involve visual elements that are experienced immediately when the Web site is displayed, including elements such as icons, symbols, colors, sounds, labels, and animation.
Information Architecture is less visual and more conceptual, dealing with how all the information contained on the site is organized. The organization might be indicated by icons or other signs, but the structure of the organization is called Information Architecture. In the next lesson, you will learn how the Web Interaction Model relates to other models.