Organizing Your Site
The way you organize your website – also known as Information Architecture – is absolutely essential to your site’s success. UX Planet defines Information Architecture as “…a science of organizing and structuring content on websites, web and mobile applications, and social media software.”
When migrating your site, take the time to look at your site structure with fresh eyes before transferring your previous site organization. Consider the following:
- Organize your site for your primary audience(s). Consider their goals in all your organizational choices.
- Consider the specific paths – or user journeys – you expect your primary audience(s) will take and adjust your organization to best meet their needs. For more info, see Journey Mapping 101 (Nielsen Norman Group).
- Make sure users do not have to work to find the information they are seeking
- Ensure all link titles, labels and categories are consistent, clear, concise and meaningful to your primary audience(s). Avoid jargon (e.g., technical terms, internal terms, KU-specific terms).
- Use the words your primary audience(s) would use, specifically what terms they would use in a search engine to find a given topic.
- Support your organizational goals by creating clear pathways to key information to avoid inadvertently hiding the information you think is most important.
- Get to know the new KU CMS – Sunflower menu/navigation before you finalize your site organization. It is a dramatically different user experience from the previous CMS.
Once you have strategically organized your site, you can use it to build your site Menu/Navigation.
Testing Your Organization
Before you finalize your site organization, consider conducting a Card Sorting Test (Nielsen Norman Group) to see if the link titles, labels and categories you are using meet the needs of your primary audience(s). Card sorting tests allow users to sort a set of topics into groups – either their own or groups you provide. This information can help you refine your link titles, labels and categories – as well as headings and sub-headings.
Consider following up a card sort test with a Usability Study (Nielsen Norman Group). Just observing how users interact with your site can provide a wealth of useful information.