A free comprehensive guide for evaluating site structures

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When first creating a site tree, we usually play with various kinds of top-level groups, using some of the variations described in Common schemes to organize sites earlier in this chapter.

 

Combining schemes

A very common tactic is to combine some of these schemes as first- and second-level headings. For example, we may use audiences as our primary navigation, then topics within each of the audience sections:

For parents 
 Primary schooling
 Secondary schooling
 Post-secondary
For teachers 
 Primary schooling
 Secondary schooling
 Post-secondary

 

We may then decide to try replacing topics with, say, activities:

 

For parents 
 Choosing a school
 School transport
 Home schooling
For teachers 
 National curriculum
 Training & upskilling
 Employment & pay

 

Flipping schemes

Another common tactic is to flip the primary and secondary navigation, to see if it fits the content better.

For example, the audience/topic tree that we tried earlier…

 

For parents 
 Primary schooling
 Secondary schooling
 Post-secondary
For teachers 
 Primary schooling
 Secondary schooling
 Post-secondary

 

…could be flipped to become an topic>audience tree:

 

Primary schools 
 For parents
 For teachers
 For administrators
Secondary schools 
 For parents
 For teachers
 For administrators

 

We may do the flip, think about it, and decide that it won’t work for our purposes (perhaps the content doesn’t fit as well, or we’re sure that it will be confusing for users).

But, if it looks reasonable, and we’re not sure how well it will work with users, it’s probably worth testing both versions in side-by-side tree tests.

 


Next: Wide/shallow vs. narrow/deep 

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