Designing navigation for humans: information architecture techniques to organize a website effectively


Fundamentally, a website is built for users to navigate information—but designing navigation can be a mysterious part of the process. For important elements like menus and search, we may struggle to decide on a structure, or to give it due attention while busy with other aspects of the project. For the global navigation menu, menu items are sometimes chosen casually; sometimes through political compromise rather than thoughtful UX.

This session, presented by information architecture and UX strategy consultant Dan Zollman, introduces approaches that will help you make confident decisions about website navigation. Beyond guessing, brainstorming, or even card sorting, we'll discuss how effective information architecture (IA) is grounded in core conceptual models for the business and its audiences. Along the way, we'll cover principles for making navigation systems user-friendly.

Highlights include:

  • How humans navigate: information-seeking behaviors, and other basic cognitive principles, that impact how you'll organize content
  • The difference between a website's conceptual structure, its sitemap, and its menu structure
  • Using concept modeling as a first step to define website structure, as well as your content model in the CMS/Drupal
  • The four main goals that a site's main menu, specifically, should achieve
  • Tips on arriving at the final labeling & classification for a navigation menu
Session Track: UX/Project Strategy
Experience Level: Everyone
Date: Thursday July 20
Time: 09:00-09:45
Room: 209