Enter the maze

The Maze metaphor

Most websites are designed to be easy to navigate - after all you want people to be able to find things. But what if you really want people to explore your website by wandering from page to page, finding interesting things that they weren't really looking for? What happens if you ignore the normal rules about making things easy to find?

image of a maze

This is what the cs4fn website does. Computer systems are often designed around metaphors - like the Microsoft Office desktop on your PC. It's not really the top of a desk but by designing it to look a bit like one, it makes it easier for people to use, as they can guess what they might be able to do, based on what they do on a real desktop. In a real office you move documents around, open them, put them in files or the recycling bin. The metaphor suggests that you can do the same on your PC. For the cs4fn website, we wanted people to explore it, so we have used the metaphor of a maze of rooms. Just like a real maze, you wander from place to place, down dead-ends, passing through rooms with interesting things in, where you might stop for a while, never knowing quite where you are or what is coming up next, but having fun just trying to find the centre of the maze.