Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Turn your site map upside down

We've been working with a client on redeveloping their website from its present incarnation. This current site has a homepage with an introduction animation and some navigation. This in-turn leads you to further pages (with even more under that).

Creating a site map of the pages you get a typical tree structure, with the homepage at the top and all the content on the lower 'branches'.

However, does this actually meet the needs of the orgainsation's (potential and existing) customers and search engines?

Customers want instant information about the organisation. They want to know some of the stuff on the lower levels and don't necessarily want to have to forrage for it through the navigation to find it.

Search engines also want content to spider and understand the site. The more this content is relevant and updated, the more likely the spiders are to return.

This therefore means exposing the content as quickly and effectively as possible and dispensing with conventional information hierarchy... or in other words turning your site map upside down! Content rightly therefore becomes the empowering factor.

When mentioning this to an Information Architect friend of mine he did questions whether this would necessarily work for all sites, especially those that have significant content and functionality.
However, is this not what the BBC news homepage and other such resources try to do?
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