The internet has shown us serendipitous and sordid connections between things in our lives. The ability to cross-connect information sources is extremely valuable for business and pleasure. But more valuable is the ability to tie it all together—to make a message out of the madness.
We often focus on hyperlinks or interconnections between several sources of information, but very rarely nowadays do we see intense interconnectivity or explanation and purpose on a single organization’s site or materials. Instead we see third party sources of commentary and review (blogs) connecting disparate silos of information together.
Expose your own wealth of knowledge by connecting your organization’s information together. Form a web of knowledge within your own site and materials. But better: make it intentional and provide a way for a user to see the intentional connections, but find their way back.
In our rich media applications, we use a concept like a taskbar/dock/clothesline to keep tangential information in-order so that you can always get back to where you came from. You can never have navigation disappear, you just see the tangented information change. This helps keeps users focused and comfortable on the connections you have provided for them.
You never know what little spark of interest will send someone’s mind aflutter. If you have a way to further tie the pieces of your world together, go ahead and expose it to a user; to a customer; to a partner; to an interested party.
Let people follow their minds to the furthest extend possible. It helps them to trust you and your organization as an expert. People can find their way back if an application is designed to help them do so. But its hard to do that with a traditional web presence.