Note: The information below refers to a desktop computer, laptop or possibly a tablet, rather than a cell phone. The small screen of a cell phone causes things to be arranged differently than on a larger screen, so not everything below will apply in the same way and tools that are mentioned may not be available.
When you first arrive on the BC Balance and Dizziness website, you might be overwhelmed by the amount of information, the number of menu items, vanishing blog posts and the lack of a big arrow showing you the way!
An informational website is an interesting phenomenon; it really has no start or finish. You can actually end up on any page by doing a Google search. People think of the Home page as the starting point, but your starting point may be another page that you landed on by typing in a search term like "balance support group bc." This search phrase will probably bring up one of our "inside pages" called Online Support Groups. So, in this case, that would be your starting point. You might go to the Home page after that, but nothing is forcing you to, or even pointing you in that direction.
A Website is Like a Magazine in a Pile of Magazines
A website is very different from reading a book from cover to cover; it's more like picking up a magazine in your doctor's waiting room and opening it to an article in the middle of the publication. From there, you might look at the index or the front cover to see what else you might want to read. Or you might just flip around until you spot something that takes your fancy. You might even drop the magazine and grab another one from the pile since it's so easy to do, leaving several great articles in the first magazine unread. Finding an article that really resonated with you when you're back in the doctor's office a few weeks later may take you awhile or you may never manage to find it. This is all fine if you're sitting in a doctor's office, amusing yourself while waiting your turn. But that's not why you're visiting the BC Balance and Dizziness website. No one comes here for the entertainment; they come here for help. When you need help, you want to find it quickly and you want to be able to find it easily again later.
The Search Box
One way you can define your personal pathway on our website is to use the Search box on the right hand side of the top menu. Type in a topic you're interested in and look at the descriptions that come up. The results will include both blog posts and static pages on our site. Click on the title that looks like it covers the topic you're interested in. If nothing seems to fit, try refining your search words. Specificity is more often your friend than broad, general terms.
Don't Rely on Your Memory
It sometimes helps to take screenshots of the drop down menus and print them out. Make notes on the printouts when you visit a page on the menu so you don't waste time going to the same pages over and over.
Print out pages or posts that you find useful. It's very easy to think you'll be able to find an article again when you go back to the site after a few days or weeks, but you can save yourself a lot of time trawling around on the site trying to find that specific article again. Pages on websites and items on navigational menus sometimes get renamed, rearranged or even removed for optimization purposes, aesthetics or clarity. This can really throw you off when you go back to look for something.
If you are tech-savvy, you can save Web page links to applications like Google Docs or use a content curating tool like Pocket. But an old-fashioned binder or file folder works very well. Print out articles and file them in a manner that makes sense to you. If they get removed from the website, you'll still have a copy!
Finding Blog Posts
Blog posts are different from Web pages. Web pages are available from the menus. Individual blog posts don't usually show up on menus at all. Only the main "Blog" page is shown on the menu. On that page you'll see a few of the most recent blog posts featured, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. The remaining posts are no longer accessible from that page. On the BC Balance and Dizziness website, try looking under "Blog Posts by Category" or "Blog Posts by Month." These options show up on the right sidebar on most of the inside pages on the site. If you find a good blog post, definitely print it out, as it might be tricky to find later on. At the least, write down the month and/or category you found it under. When you're reading a blog post on balanceanddizziness.org, the date is in the top section of the post under the title and the category is at the very bottom of the post under the list of the ten latest posts.
The Site Map
There is one page that indexes all the pages and blog posts on the site and that is called the "Site Map." You will find a link to that page at the bottom of the footer menu on our website. Blog posts are on the last page of the site map at the very bottom. This might be the easiest tool to use to find an article or blog post that you saw on a previous visit, but page and blog titles don't always tell you enough. That's why I suggest using the "Search" box, making notes and printing out articles right away. Don't rely on your memory or the page/post title to lead you quickly to the right one.
If All Else Fails... Talk to Us
We know people are finding what they need on the website because calls and emails asking for our help have dropped off considerably since the website was massively updated in 2015. But, if all else fails, do call or email us... or send your question on balance and dizziness disorders to our gurus via the Ask an Expert form. We will send you a personal reply. And don't forget to check out our Facebook page where you will find the most recent innovations, programs and research results on balance and dizziness. And you can talk to us there, too!
The Future of the BC Balance and Dizziness Website
In 2019 we will be updating the website with even more information and a better way of presenting that information to our visitors. Work has already begun!
[Update: The first article in our new series of articles for 2019 has been posted on the website: Meniere's disease.]
Note: The information above refers to a desktop computer, laptop or possibly a tablet, rather than a cell phone. The small screen of a cell phone causes things to be arranged differently than on a larger screen, so not everything above will apply in the same way and tools that are mentioned may not be available.
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