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Information Architecture Guidelines

Information Architecture Guidelines

A Quick Cheat Sheet

Over the past few months I have been working on an quick cheat sheet to give clients when we first start looking at their sitemap. The goal is to set some rules up front about naming and structure.

Here are my four fast rules for website IA in no particular order: trigger words, simplicity, proximity and priority.

Navigation Links & Site Structure Best Practices

Below are the first steps for creating easy to use navigation on your site:

  • Users look for trigger words when trying to perform a task on a website. These words are short and to the point, or are used consistently across the internet or by your competitors. In regards to navigation, it is best to try to keep link titles as simple as possible for fast, easy recognition. Remove any repetition.
  • Less is more. Decision paralysis occurs when the user is presented with too many options that they don’t understand. It is best to try to make a decision obvious. Try to limit main navigation options to 8 links or sections.
  • Proximity is an important cue for the user. People have a tendency to recognize stronger relationships between objects that are located close to one another. Items that are like should be grouped together for fast and easy recognition.
  • Priority is another important cue. Placing items in highly visible spots on a site, like the first and last items in a horizontal navigation bar, ensures the user will locate this item easily.

Do you like the fast four? Have something to add? Let me know, email me!