Organization of site information
The organization of site information is determined largely by the design of the site. This, in turn, is determined by factors like what the site has to offer and the profile of its target audience. While the design of a site is noticed right away, it is the organization of the site that has the maximum impact on a user's experience.
You need to ask yourself a few basic questions while deciding the organization of a site. These are: What does your user want? Is it information? Is it a product? What do you expect from your user? How long do you expect the user to stay on the site? What is it that will attract the user most? The answers to these questions will help you arrive at the best way to arrange the site information.
But before that you must clearly focus on the target audience. Put yourself in their shoes and try to see what they would look for when they come surfing. Make everything easy and pleasant for them.
This can be done by using the following techniques:
1. Divide your content into logical units: It is always useful to organize your content into small, easy to read sections. You must remember that f ew visitors spend time reading long passages of text on-screen. They either skip such text or save it for later reference.
If given a choice, most users will prefer to go through important information organized in a bulleted format than to sieve through mountains of information.
Also, long copy means the person has to keep scrolling down. This may cause the person to feel frustrated. That is why you should never put too put too much text on a single page; it is a navigation nightmare.
2. Establish a hierarchy: Hierarchical organization is a necessity on the web. Hierarchies let you move from an overview of the site (the home page), down to increasingly specific submenus and content pages. It's a bit like a bird swooping down on a prey from a height. As you come closer the information becomes clearer.
3. Use the hierarchy to structure relations among units: When users encounter a new and complex information system they tend to build mental models of how they will go about tackling it. If the model that you have built is similar to what they have in mind, it translates into ease of use for the visitor. While you can never second guess every person who comes visiting, building a logical and obvious structure is your best bet. It helps the user successfully predict where a piece of information might be because that's where he would have filed it himself.
4. Analyze the functional and aesthetic success of your system: Finally, once you have created your site, analyze its functionality. A good web design is a series of menus and pages that a user can navigate through almost intuitively. If it passes this basic test you have a good design on your hands.