The format with which you are interacting was originally conceived as liner notes to our albums, then as sheet music books when the concept grew far beyond the size constraints of a jewel case booklet.
Finally technology caught up with the concept through the power of hypertext. Now bandwidth, copyright and development budget ($/time) are nearly the last remaining constraints, so its unlikely to transform itself again into a different media for quite some time.
The basic idea of the design of this site is for the structure to allow you to actually navigate through the system rather than jumping back and forth from items on a long list of links. Some people will probably hate the style, but we think the advantages outweigh the negatives.
The intended navigation method is to burrow down to the level of your interest then move horizontally along that level. Call it Depth then Breadth traversal.
Initially it will seem to require far too many jumps to get down to the level you want, but note how obvious your choice is at each level. Creating a site with a large number of pages many layers deep permits the storage of tremendous amounts of information without requiring widely divergent information to be presented on the same page as long as the interface is rich with links. To use a bit of relational jargon, it permits each page to be normalized, so the page itself becomes a grouping method.
This departs from the tradition of many Web sites, where the entire site consists of a few long pages that must be scrolled through or navigated via a list of links, often in a frame. This type of navigation is little different than browsing through a book or looking up page numbers in its index, thus losing much of the potential of hypertext to present information in such a powerful fashion that the addition of graphics and sound is merely an incidental benefit.
The page is sectioned by a title between full width horizontal dividing lines, call it the title bar, which indicates your current level. The header above the title bar indicates your depth in the system by showing the levels you traversed, and allows you to jump directly back to any of those levels.
Where applicable, the Prior/Next links on the title bar move "horizontally" to the previous/next page at the current level. Everything below this title bar is either the page's information or links to miscellaneous pages. The exception is where we have links to the other pages for this item immediately under the Prior/Next link bar. For example, this allows you to jump directly from a song's description page to its quotes page rather than being forced to go back up to the song page then down to the quotes page.
The Band section contains information about the guiding principles of Mirror Covenant, a very short description of the band members, and business contacts.
The Web section contains information about the site itself, such as what you are now reading.
The Word section discusses issues of doctrine.
The Mail section exists to allow you to communicate with us. Please!
The Works page and its subpages contain the heart of this website. This section is laid out in a hierarchy. The Series page is the top level, though at present the only album series is the Quest To Be Whole. Below this are the albums that make up the series. Below each album page are the album descriptions, and the songs. Each song page contains everything (hopefully) you might want to know about a song, including lyrics, credits, descriptions, background, video scripts, instruments, and a sound clip. Of course these items will not be fully available until their respective album has been released.
What you will find is that you can perform your own search rather than resorting to some kind of search engine because each jump greatly restricts the scope of the material below you, with the added benefit of seeing a bit of the countryside along the way.
It should also be understood that there are two types of links, namely navigation and cross reference. The navigation links are used to move in an orderly fashion through the site. In other words, the navigation links tie the pages of the site together. You should not need the Back button on your browser when navigating, because the links will take you back more precisely. The cross reference links are completely different. Their purpose is to tie concepts and images together, not pages. If you do not want to get lost, you must use your browser's Back button after you have visited the cross reference, because the navigation links on the cross referenced page may be many layers away from where you took the leap.
This might initially seem to require a lot of click work, but once you get used to it you will find this approach creates a logical structure where it is simple to find out almost anything you might want to know about Mirror Covenant.
Of course if you have some ideas for how this site may be improved, let us know.
Originally the website was designed with background images on every page and other tricks, but it made navigation too slow, so we have gone to the simple style you now see.
Please do not think this simplicity is due to a lack of creative effort in constructing this site. When you look at the number of links it contains, it is clear we did not choose the easy way out. Rather, we chose to maximize communication and usability instead of impressive devices.
It will also be said that there is a lot of 'mere' text on this site. That is a function of two things. The first is that we have quite a bit to say about our work. The second is that our target audience is precisely those people who are not put off by reading.
We intend to eventually release this website on a format like DVD so we can make your experience as rich as we originally planned. Someday the Web will have the bandwidth required to fulfill its artistic potential, but current technology made compromise inevitable.
If you think this makes our site boring, go to the Feedback page for Web and let us have it. Hopefully some of you will like what we have done, and also comment.
One area where some people may have trouble is the links among the song Description pages. Unlike other aspects of this site, these links have no explanations as to what they 'mean'.
This is where the real meat of this site exists. Because two items are linked, you can assume there is a connection, but for some the nature of this connection will be a mystery. This is a distinct possibility because links are drawn for reasons on several levels. Sometimes the theme of two songs connect. Sometimes a word in one song will connect with a theme in another song. In other words, the relationship may be on the level of theology, metaphor, semantics, language, topic, etc.
In some respects this intuitive form is the foundational reason for this website. This is the only area where Mirror Covenant might be called groundbreaking. The richness, subtlety, and complexity opened up by hypertext as an artform will leave some people in the dust; particularly those who do not read except by necessity. It is not that we want anyone to be mystified. It is simply the nature of doing something in art for which there are really no existing standards.
If you have spent the time it will always take to understand why a particular
link exists, yet still do not understand, ask us! The site is littered
with feedback pages. This kind of feedback is very high on
our priority list.