Website structure and navigation impacts upon how visitors find and use our online information and services.
It is essential that you devote enough time and consideration is to what should be included and where, in order to create a useful, usable website.
Website structure is about organising content so users can move through the website with ease and find the information they want. The structure of a website should not be directly determined by the internal structure of the organisational unit or the University.
When determining how to structure the information within your site, you should:
- Define the business objectives and particular points you want to highlight.
- Identify the target audience or audiences and what they need or want.
- Keep the size, shape, position, and function of important elements constant. Inconsistency leads to confusion and frustration.
Some business units with specific audiences (such as the Callaway Centre or University Theatres), require different navigation elements but the principles remain the same:
- Keep navigation to a maximum of eight items at the top level and in each branch. Users tend to ignore anything below this level.
- High-use or high-interest areas should be presented to users in the fewest number of clicks. These can be determined from website statistics.
- Unique and creative navigation labels are detrimental to website usability. Use widely accepted terms where possible, such as 'Home', 'Search', 'Contact us' and 'Help'.
- Not every page in the website has to be visible in the left-hand navigation. If the page is a child page of a section, and is linked to within the text of that parent page, it does not need to be in the left-hand navigation as users can still get to it easily.