We have built the Climate Web with the desktop version of TheBrain® software. This software has powerful filtering and reporting features that allow users to customize their view of and access to different kinds of information.
Webbrain is a web-based version of TheBrain® software. It allows third-party users to access any Brain that users have uploaded to the Webbrain site. When you access the Climate Web, you are accessing it through Webbrain. Webbrain, however, has virtually none of the abilities to filter and customize how information is presented; third-party access to Brains through Webbrain is still under development.
The Brain’s potential to help third-party users understand and address wicked problems including climate change is enormous. We are actively encouraging TheBrain’s software developers to incorporate more powerful filtering and reporting capabilities in the next version of Webbrain due out during 2016.
Webbrain is actually extremely easy to use. But when you enter into a knowledge solution as large as the Climate Web you run the risk of getting lost in the perceived complexity, particularly when the Climate Web is based (as we know it is) on someone else’s ways of thinking and visualizing the problem.
One solution to this challenge is to provide an entirely different point of entry for users. Our Climate Spotlights point users to a pre-selected set of information and resources within the Climate Web that is likely to meet their immediate need and avoids the need for them to enter the Climate Web through the “front door.”
The Climate Spotlights are not an alternative to the Climate Web. They are simply targeted gateways into the Climate Web. Even with a Spotlight, users can dig as deeply as they want into the Climate Web. Users comfortable with the software’s visual interface my decide to simply enter through the Climate Web’s front door. Webbrain allows you to access a full-screen version of the Climate Web, which can be advantageous especially if you dig deeper into it.
Coming in through the front door, the Climate Web is structured like the layers of an onion. Layer 0 (the Index) is the outermost and easiest to use layer. The Index layer contains about 1,000 Index Terms, quickly taking you to topics in the Climate Web. Layer 1 (Dashboards) offers ways to visualize large amounts of information without leaving the dashboard page Layer 2 (What’s New) points you to Recent News and Recent Additions to the Climate Web. Layer 3 (Specific Users, Specific Needs) links specific needs to specific places in the Climate Web. Layer 4 (Deep Dives) takes you to where we have organized enormous amounts of information in a detailed way on particular topics.
These layers are all explored in our 45-minute Climate Web webinar.
When you enter through the front door Hub of the Climate Web, you have access to help videos and materials. The upper left of the screen always shows the Help slide, search tips, and basic navigation instructions. Most users can become comfortable with navigating the Climate Web in just a few minutes. But we are the first to admit that there is a learning curve. Climate change is a wicked problem, and there is no way to design a knowledge solution for seriously exploring the problem and potential solutions without a few minutes of effort. Taking those few minutes can save you hours, days, or more of time going forward, and might point you to life-changing resources you would otherwise never find.
The Climate Web gives users the benefit of more than 16,000 hours of time invested in building the Climate Web. We’ve mined hundreds of websites for relevant materials, read and extracted ideas and materials from thousands of stories and reports, and constantly add new materials by tracking hundreds of websites, blogs, and social media feeds. Take a look, and provide your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.