It's important to get input from a variety of people who will be using the information presented on any Tree of Life website. What do people expect?

Here we present a summary from a paltry two interviewees. More should be done.


Summary of Results

Where am I? Start with the familiar.

For middle school/public, the view of the tree should start with where humans fit on the tree. Users can then draw back, getting a larger view on the tree and seeing the relationships between all mammals and humans on the tree. Continuing to back up, interesting categories will include seeing vertebrates, animals, eukaryotes, and then the whole tree.

People won't recognize most taxon names, making navigation difficult. Provide GOOD Search.

Students, the public, and even scientists outside their own specialty won't know how to navigate tree from taxon names because they won't recognize them. Many types of tree structured data, such as websites and library catalogs, rely on people recognizing names of broader categories that might include the particular target of their navigation. For example, Amazon can expect that many people will look for jeans under "apparel & accessories." But just in case, they do provide a search box where typing "jeans" will take you to the correct store. Users will need excellent search and browse tools, and perhaps other novel types of guidance, to locate relevant parts of the tree.

People will use common names.

Common names are an important way that many,many people organize what they know about organisms. People will want to be able to use common names as they search and browse the tree. Yes, it's hard. No, don't pooo-pooo it - it's a reality, and this tree of life website, as the ultimate source for conveying the relationship between organisms, is going to have to take this challenge on and do it right!

The tree is a gateway to more information.

Students will want to use the tree as a way to access taxon information, not just the classification tree info itself. Teachers always want to find ways that students can find reliable, educationally-appropriate information about organisms of all types.