Posts Tagged ‘IA’

NNG Information architecture: navigation design

May 26, 2009

I recently attended the NNG Information architecture 2: navigation design seminar in London. It was very informative and particularly useful in getting you to think about those crucial questions when deciding on how to implement a navigation system. For example; is it appropriate, intuitive, accessible, coordinated, and consistent etc, what are the benefits of using this type of navigation and what will be the issues?

Here are just a few of the high-level points that came out of the seminar:

The navigation system does not exist in a vacuum; it is a system that supports the objectives and tasks of users of the site

Ok, this may seem pretty obvious but it is easy to get caught up in new design trends and then try to shoehorn your navigation into those designs. You need to make sure that the navigation model you choose is appropriate and fit for purpose.

For example, the carousel/film strip type navigation works for Disney’s website because the purpose of the site allows for a bit of fun, however deciding to use the filmstrip for a banking website perhaps wouldn’t be the most appropriate choice.

Consider the bigger picture

You may select a navigation system that will make your site more usable but will negatively impact on your SEO, consider which one is losing your company more revenue. The obvious choice for me would be one that has high usability and a positive impact on your SEO, but if this is not possible then of course you need to go for the option that is going to do less damage.

Less is more

Too many navigation options will impair interface usability. It is easy to think that it is more helpful to give the user a number of ways to find the same piece of information or product, but this is actually more confusing. The user has to analyse each option and can be bit overwhelmed by all the options;  just a give a clear and simple way in.