Online College Courses for Credit

Module 3 Planning a Website: Lesson 1

Module 3 Planning a Website: Lesson 1

Author: Melissa Cunningham
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Lesson 1: Organizing a Website

Learning Targets

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 49 pages!

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 or clusters, it will make your website much easier to navigate.

The Warren County Public Library took 49 pages and narrowed them down into 7 different groups to make it easier to navigate their website:  

  1. Catalog
  2. Events
  3. Using the Library
  4. Youth
  5. Idea Lab
  6. Locations
  7. Contact



  1. Read the Web Style Guide chapter on Information Architecture.
  2. Reading Check. Use the Module 3 Lesson 1 Form to respond to the three questions.

As a Group

  1. 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 poor 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.
  2. In groups of 3 or 4, 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.
  3. Once your group's chart is laid out, sketch out your hierarchy chart on a sheet of paper (you may type it if you know how to make hierarchy charts!).  Be sure to put all group members' names on the paper.


Web Style Guide