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Audience-based navigation: 5 reasons to avoid it

‘Mutual exclusive’ sounds like taxonomy thinking. There’s one best to organize stuff.

“Role-based IAs increase cognitive effort and user anxiety. Clear language and mutually exclusive categories reduce the chance of harming the user experience.”

Katie W Sherwin a.k.a. /katiewsherwin | @kwsherwin ~ Nielsen Norman Group

Search is not enough: Synergy between navigation and search

I would call it the difference between the algorithms and the synapses.

“When websites prioritize search over navigation, users must invest cognitive effort to create queries and to deal with the weak implementations of site search. (…) Site search is vital and can save the day for those users who have well defined goals and a good understanding of the information space in which they are searching. However, if you’re considering pushing search on your site at the expense of navigation, think again. Navigation serves important functions: it shows people what they can find on the site, and teaches them about the structure of the search space. Using the navigation categories is often faster and easier for users than generating a good search query. Plus, many times site search does not work well or requires users to have a good understanding of its limitations.”

(Raluca Budiu ~ Nielsen Norman Group)

The difference between information architecture and navigation

Simple interpretation of IA: How you move or travel from one place to the next one in this space. Navigation needs a map, compass and a goal.

“IA is the information backbone of the site; navigation refers to those elements in the UI that allow users to reach specific information on the site.”

(Jennifer Cardello ~ Nielsen Norman Group)

Classification and its consequences

Creativity is connecting two existing things in a new way. I would connect it to Glushko’s TAO.

“We see this Linnean mentality often deployed all over our information spaces, and its consequences still produce scaffoldings that simply expose internal structures, be those the enterprise’s, the organization’s, or the university’s, with no concern for actual usefulness. The move towards cross-channel experiences is turning this into an even more complex scenario, where the different nature of the channels themselves (staff at a store, a mobile phone, a kiosk, signage) introduces one additional dimension to an already layered problem space.”

(Andreas Resmini a.k.a. @resmini)

Four dangerous navigation approaches that can increase cognitive strain

Don’t forget, humans are cognitive animals too.

“Some navigation implementations risk pushing users into a state of cognitive strain which lessens the likelihood of them taking desirable actions.”

(Jen Cardello ~ NNGroup)

User experience shape: Designing for engagement

Connecting the shape of UX with stories, personas and dialogues.

“Why do we even need web navigation at all? Well, for one, navigation provides access to the content of a site. But more important, it’s the way that it provides access that makes navigation necessary. After all, site search also provides access to content. Why not just have site search and be done with the problem of designing and maintaining a complex navigation system?”

(James Kalbach a.k.a. @JimKalbach ~ Experiencing Information)

Converting search into navigation

This space metaphor gets really to its limits.

“Most users are unable to solve even halfway complicated problems with search. Better to redirect their efforts into more supportive user interfaces when possible.”

(Jakob Nielsen ~ NNGroup)

Why Do We Need Navigation At All?

Structure being narrowed down to traveling through the infosphere as in Apple’s HotSauce.

“Regardless of how you organize the content, the larger point is this: giving users a table of contents does much more than simply provide users with a means of navigating the content. The table of contents expresses the hierarchical relationships of your content, and by so doing gives users a sense of your content’s overall story and structure. Even if users can’t find the answer to their question by navigating the table of contents, they can find other meaning in browsing and perusing the structure of your content.”

(Tom Johnson ~ I’d Rather Be Writing)

The Elements Of Navigation

The spacial metaphor of information environments (a.k.a. architecture) is strong. Even within mobile apps.

“This article is about the tiniest of details that goes into creating the main centerpiece of your digital product – the construction of the elements of your navigation. This is the most important aid you can possibly give to your users as they are constantly seeking a reason to walk out on you.”

(Petter Silfver a.k.a. @psilfver ~ Smashing Magazine)

tFacet: A tool to build faceted navigation

“The aim is to facilitate ordinary users to formulate semantically unambiguous queries so as to support the fast and precise access to information. Used interaction concepts are e.g. a directory tree and interchangeable columns that are already well-known from other applications. The directory tree, for example, is used to enable the intuitive exploration and selection of hierarchical facets.”

(Taxonomy Watch)

Guide to Website Navigation Design Patterns

“In web design, there are certain common design patterns that are used for interaction. Site navigation has a wide variety of common and familiar design patterns that can be used as a foundation for building effective information architecture for a website. This guide covers popular site navigation design patterns. For each site navigation design pattern, we will discuss its common characteristics, its drawbacks, and when best to use it.” (Cameron Chapman ~ Six Revisions)

Faceted Navigation: Grouping: An UnTapped Potential?

“Research shows that relevant documents (as judged by a user) tend to be thematically related. That means that if is someone finds a relevant document in a collection, chances are documents with a similar subject are also relevant.” (James Kalbach ~ Experiencing information)

Design Patterns: Faceted Navigation

“Faceted navigation may be the most significant search innovation of the past decade. It features an integrated, incremental search and browse experience that lets users begin with a classic keyword search and then scan a list of results. It also serves up a custom map that provides insights into the content and its organization and offers a variety of useful next steps. In keeping with the principles of progressive disclosure and incremental construction, it lets users formulate the equivalent of a sophisticated Boolean query by taking a series of small, simple steps. Learn how it works, why it has become ubiquitous in e-commerce, and why it’s not for every site.” (Peter Morville & Jeffery Callender ~ A List Apart)

Naview: Navigation preview tool for rapid IA prototyping

“Naview is a navigation preview tool for rapid information architecture prototyping from Volkside. It helps information architects design and visualise a new navigational structure and aims to bridge the gap between card sorting and IA user testing.” (Volkside) – courtesy of jholland