Lesson 1: Organizing a Website
At the completion of this exercise:
- you will have learned theories and techniques for effectively organizing content on a website.
A key to successfully designing a large website is to organize the information logically, so that users can easily locate the information they're looking for. The first step in organizing a website is a concept called "chunking,", dividing the site's content into manageable chunks of information, with all chunks related conceptually to one another. Content within each chunk can then be arranged hierarchically, so that the most important topics within a chunk will appear first in a navigational system.
The Warren County Public Library's website has 23 pages:
- Home Page
- Ask a Librarian
- Main Library
- Contact Us/ Employment
- Request a Meeting Room
- Special Events
- Bob Kirby Branch
- Board of Trustees
- Photo Gallery
- Support WCPL
- Suggest an Item
- WCPL News
- Online Databases
- Smiths Grove Branch
- Newsletter Signup
- Children/Youth Events
- Graham Dr. Community Library
- Account Login
- Mobile Branch
- For Kids & Teens
If you simply listed a link to all of these websites on their home page, no one would ever find what they needed! However, if your organize the information into groups like below, it will make your website much easier to navigate.
- Read the Web Style Guide chapter on Information Architecture.
Reading Check. Use the Module 3 Lesson 1 Form to respond to the following questions:
- List the five basic steps to organizing information for a website.
- Briefly describe the three essential structures for organizing websites.
- How might programmers utilize site diagrams as they move a new website project from planning to production?
- Receive a set of index cards from your teacher and read the following scenario:
- You have been hired by a client whose website has gotten unwieldy after years of willy-nilly development. The client is wanting the site to be better organized, starting from the ground up. Each of the cards you received includes a different topic that is addressed on the client's website.
- In groups of 2 or 3, organize the cards into meaningful chunks and propose to the client a new navigational system, where each chunk represents a link on the navigational menu of the home page. Create a hierarchy chart for your website. The navigational system should successfully balance the following needs:
- There should be no more than ten chunks
- Every page on the website should be no more than three clicks away from the home page.
- Take a picture of your group's chart once it is finalized. One member from each group should post the following in the discussion on Schoology:
- All group members' names
- List the navigation links (or chunks) that your group chose
- The picture of your hierarchy chart
Web Style Guide