[map]A Temporal Pattern from
Patterns for Personal Web Sites

Freshness Dates

The Web is by nature atemporal; it exists in an eternal now. There's no way to tell a Web browser to pull up last year's version of a page. Even worse, there's no standard way for a visitor to determine if a page was written yesterday or five years ago. In Internet time, even an hour can make a difference.

Therefore, indicate how fresh pages are by displaying the date of their most recent change.

Where to put freshness dates:

Freshness dates show that your site is a Living Site.

A related idea is using icons (e.g., ['New' icon] and ['Updated' icon]) to indicate recent site changes (as Yahoo! and other sites do). These icons should be removed after a fixed amount of time.

If your site combines pages that change with pages whose contents are frozen, you can put the status with the freshness date. (e.g., "Last change 3 May 2002; open to revision", or "Contents frozen 12 December 1998").

Last updated 12 August 2003
All contents ©2002-2003 Mark L. Irons