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Content has a structure

From: User Experience Fundamentals for Web Design

Video: Content has a structure

The information you put on your site- the content- can probably be arranged in more than one way. It's important to work out what the primary way will be before you build a navigation structure, because otherwise, you will end up adding more and more menu items as you go along until the whole navigation is a real mess. Most often content is either category, audience, or task-based. If the content on your site can be summed up as verbs-that's doing words-then you have a task-based navigation structure. Here we are looking at a Financial Product site and navigation is verb based: Balance, Save, Invest, Plan. That creates a task-based navigation.

Content has a structure

The information you put on your site- the content- can probably be arranged in more than one way. It's important to work out what the primary way will be before you build a navigation structure, because otherwise, you will end up adding more and more menu items as you go along until the whole navigation is a real mess. Most often content is either category, audience, or task-based. If the content on your site can be summed up as verbs-that's doing words-then you have a task-based navigation structure. Here we are looking at a Financial Product site and navigation is verb based: Balance, Save, Invest, Plan. That creates a task-based navigation.

Just be sure to use the words that your visitors would normally use when you create the navigation labels. People have to understand which section is most likely to be right for them. If your site's content is nouns-that's describing words-then it's likely your main navigation will be by category splitting up the different types of content on a site for instance, by genre for music or by occasion for florist. Here we have Weddings, Someone Special, Funerals, Apologies, and Special offers. If instead you have distinct user types, that is different audiences, you might be designing your navigations to split the content that it is relevant for each type of visitor.

Computer manufactures often do this, asking you whether you're a Home user, a Small Business, Medium or Large Business or Public Sector, all because their products different for these groups. Be careful if you choose to do this. Your visitors must be able to tell which category they are in and they may even be suspicious of your categories. For instance, wondering why small business computers are cheaper than consumer ones. Of course you don't have to rely on just one type of navigation structure. You might decide that your content will benefit from both the category and a task-based menu with audience related content on the homepage or you might find that you have information that is better suited to specific form of categorization.

For instance, by popularity or for promoted content, YouTube does this. By Location, for news or local interest sites, by the time for news or historical sites or for instance by alphabetical arrangement on a library site. Typically, however these specialist navigation structures tend to be the secondary navigation on the page or used deeper within the site. You would still use category, audience, or task-based navigation as your primary menu structure. So take the time to think about the best way of categorizing your content. Even if you're working on an existing site, the sooner you create a good content model, sometimes called the information architecture, the sooner you can arrange your content in a way that makes sense to your users.

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User Experience Fundamentals for Web Design

52 video lessons · 25878 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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