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Arranging your content

From: User Experience Fundamentals for Web Design

Video: Arranging your content

Often you have more information on a topic that completely fits on one screen. There are three main ways of displaying this information. One, Linear Scrolling page, a series of Sequential pages, or Splitting the pages by the level of detail. The style you use will depend upon the type of information you are trying to get across. It used to be that if content wasn't shown above the fold, in other words, if it didn't display on the screen without scrolling, then visitors will be unlikely to see it. Now though, scroll wheels on mice and easy swiping on touch screen devices have made it so that almost all visitors to your site are likely to be able to scroll down through your content.

Arranging your content

Often you have more information on a topic that completely fits on one screen. There are three main ways of displaying this information. One, Linear Scrolling page, a series of Sequential pages, or Splitting the pages by the level of detail. The style you use will depend upon the type of information you are trying to get across. It used to be that if content wasn't shown above the fold, in other words, if it didn't display on the screen without scrolling, then visitors will be unlikely to see it. Now though, scroll wheels on mice and easy swiping on touch screen devices have made it so that almost all visitors to your site are likely to be able to scroll down through your content.

That means that it's okay to just put your information in one long page, if you have good reasons not to split up. Those reasons might be, because splitting it would cause confusion. For instance, people might miss out part of a list of instructions, or because you expect people to print the page out. For instance, Wikipedia uses this linear approach, because they cover many different topics, and their model is to have all the information for each topic on one page. If you do have content that needs to be kept together, remember they users scan rather than reading, and their concentration lapses as they get further down the page.

So make sure you use plenty of subheadings to help visitors scan through the page to the path they need. You might also consider using In Page Links to let people quickly jump to the part of the content they are interested in. Oftentimes though, you can make it easier for your visitors by splitting the content up for them. If the information you have as sequential, say an article or a story for instance, a photo gallery, or training content that has step-by-step instructions, then a Sequential approach makes sense. What you'll need for Sequential pages is a descriptive heading on the first page and then headings on subsequent pages that make it clear that they're a continuation of the article, for instance, Step 3 or Continued.

You'll also want to put Pagination Controls on the page so that visitors can see how long the article is and can easily move through it. One thing to consider here is that if it's likely your visitors will want to print the content out, you should provide a way for them to either download a PDF version or see all the information on one page. Sometimes it's better to give people a high level overview of the content and then let them dive into the bits that are interesting to them. Splitting topics by level of detail works best for the content that people who want to research in their own order and where you don't know the level of knowledge that they are starting with.

The Main page contains an overview of the content and links out to other pages, which each deal with a specific concept in more detail. This approach also allows you to share content between several different articles on your site. It might be that you have a common page describing your returns policy for instance, rather than including that text in every page of the site, splitting by level of detail allows you to link to that returns policy page from many different articles on the site. By thinking about what type of content you have on your site, you can quickly work out which page style to use. Of course, you aren't tied in to using just one type of content arrangement on your site.

You can make some pages Linear, some Sequential, and some Detail based. The important thing is to make sure that you have consistency between different pages of the same type.

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This video is part of

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User Experience Fundamentals for Web Design

52 video lessons · 26476 viewers

Chris Nodder
Author

 
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  1. 1m 7s
    1. Welcome
      1m 7s
  2. 4m 37s
    1. Building a site for your visitors
      1m 29s
    2. Understanding how people browse the web
      45s
    3. It's all about information
      48s
    4. What causes people to leave sites?
      1m 35s
  3. 3m 50s
    1. Simple design
      1m 9s
    2. Consistent design
      1m 11s
    3. Standard design
      1m 30s
  4. 20m 55s
    1. Elements of navigation
      1m 21s
    2. Content has a structure
      2m 18s
    3. Understanding menus
      3m 19s
    4. Reviewing some menu myths
      2m 4s
    5. Working with site maps
      1m 5s
    6. Adding search to your site
      2m 53s
    7. Understanding links
      3m 43s
    8. Exploring clickable elements
      1m 18s
    9. Understanding Fitts's Law
      2m 54s
  5. 11m 19s
    1. People can begin from any page on your site
      1m 24s
    2. Elements every web page should have
      3m 25s
    3. Creating progressive navigation
      3m 22s
    4. Arranging your content
      3m 8s
  6. 8m 7s
    1. How people read on the web
      2m 31s
    2. Writing for information exchange
      1m 43s
    3. Formatting pages for information exchange
      3m 53s
  7. 7m 21s
    1. Using your homepage as a site summary
      1m 50s
    2. Creating fresh content
      1m 20s
    3. Displaying navigation and search
      1m 25s
    4. The five-second test
      2m 46s
  8. 8m 8s
    1. Showing people what you've got
      3m 50s
    2. Making comparisons easy
      1m 24s
    3. Creating landing pages from ad campaigns
      2m 54s
  9. 11m 22s
    1. The real purpose of detail and product pages
      1m 16s
    2. Writing descriptive text
      2m 4s
    3. Using images to set context
      2m 17s
    4. Showing the price for products
      2m 27s
    5. Have a call to action
      1m 36s
    6. About Us: a special detail page
      1m 42s
  10. 10m 58s
    1. Ask for information in context
      2m 25s
    2. Making forms as painless as possible
      2m 34s
    3. Creating form fields
      3m 37s
    4. Handling errors gracefully
      2m 22s
  11. 9m 9s
    1. Using different types of media
      1m 55s
    2. Simple question: Does it enhance the experience?
      2m 15s
    3. Using graphics for explanation, not decoration
      1m 17s
    4. What is interactive content?
      1m 58s
    5. Laying out your page for media
      1m 44s
  12. 5m 3s
    1. Making money without selling out
      1m 37s
    2. Adding graphical ads
      2m 10s
    3. Creating text ads
      1m 16s
  13. 3m 42s
    1. Simple, consistent, and standard design
      2m 4s
    2. Consider your users and you'll be fine
      1m 38s
  14. 1m 31s
    1. More resources
      1m 31s

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