Amybeth Hale – Research Goddess


Walk2Web
July 13, 2007, 4:10 am
Filed under: Networking/Social Media, Research, Technology

Stumbled across Walk2Web today – this website intrigued me not just because of the visual layout, but also because it talks to you!

I had a little difficulty trying to find out what the creation purpose of this site was because the ‘What is it?’ and ‘How it works?’ links on the main page were broken. I was able to find a project description on VisualComplexity (which is a pretty cool site itself and might warrant a future post of its own!):

“Walk2Web is a visualization tool that invites you to “Walk, Explore, and Have Fun” while surfing the web. The tool is quite interesting, useful and appealing. It allows you to jump from site to site while at the same time maintaining a macro perspective on the entire linked network. You begin by entering a URL and then you are presented with a visual map of all the websites which are linked to it and from it. From there you can just start “walking” through the different links which show a screenshot of the correspondent website by simply mousing over it.

“Walk2Web has later included a service that allows to get the an HTML code for adding “Live Sites Shows” to any website or blog, which shows screen shots of the sites that are being visited on Walk2Web. There is also a snippet code for a “Walk ME” button, which starts surfing the Web from any site where it’s implemented.”

I decided to take my blog for a “walk” and test this out, so I typed in spiresearch.blogspot.com (my original blog URL) into the URL box on the main screen.

When I hit “Walk” I got to this screen, and a voice read the title of my site while I was able to view a very up-to-date screenshot. Kinda neat!

Since I am still figuring out what the blue dots vs. the green dots are, I decided to expand out several of the linked sites. My guess is that the green dots indicate sites that the original site links to and that return the favor, and the blue dots indicate sites that are linked to on the original site that do not link back to the original. Here is a screenshot of a little bit of expansion from my blog:

It looks like when you click on a site, it “walks” that site and shows if there are links back to your original as well as shows any cross-links to which your chosen site and your original site are both connected. It’s like a visual social network of sites.

If you can’t see in the big screen shot, there are little + and – numbers next to some of the sites. These are sites that have been ranked by people, and those numbers indicate the number of people who have raised the ranking (+) or lowered the ranking (-).

There are other tools available outside of just the visual network. You can log in and leave comments and tags on different sites, rate the different sites as ‘Cool!’ or ‘Yehh…’, and create a listing of Favorites as well as Digg and add to del.icio.us. The site also keeps count of how many sites have been viewed (now) and your total, as well as the time you’ve been logged in (you must be signed in) and your total time on the site.

I hope the links on the main page are working in the near future because I would certainly like to learn more about this tool! The movement of the site is very sensitive so you’ll have to watch how abruptly you move your mouse around. I would imagine however that it could be a valuable resource for researchers to see what links are available on frequently visited resources and get a quick snapshot of those sites. These links might end up being valuable resources about which we may never have known.

To the creators of Walk2Web, please check your broken links so we can learn how to use your site! Thanks!

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