Content Organization

The author states that "after ensuring that content is well written ... ensure that information on the site is clearly organized."

EN: I believe he's got that backwards. An outline should be developed first, and the content should be written afterward. Since content changes and grows over time, it should be added that the content of individual pages should be revisited each time the content of a site is reorganized (or each time the page is moved).

1. Organize information clearly (5:4)

The author suggests that the information at each level of the site should have a "logical structure" to make it easier for users to locate information and understand how each bit of information correlates to the body of knowledge a site presents. Presently, he does not explain what he means by "logical structure"

2. Facilitate Scanning (5:4)

Structure each page to facilitate scanning. (EN: specific tips are provided for both content and navigation pages, in terms of the design and page content)

Specifically, studies report that 80% of users scan a page for information as opposed to reading it from top to bottom. It's also worth noting that users spend about 12% of their time on a site seeking out information (rather than receiving it).

EN: These statistics have been widely misused to interpret that users do not read Web pages at all, but merely scan the surface of sites - not true. They scan to find information, then read it.

EN: There is also a balance to be struck between making a page easy to scan (which in itself is a process that involves selective attention, ignoring most content) and easy to understand (which entails paying close attention to material). These are not mutually exclusive, however: techniques that make it easy for the scanning user to skim a page also help the reading user to make sense of the content as a whole.

3. Ensure that necessary information is displayed (5:2)

Each page's content should be understandable in and of itself. Users should not have to remember data from one page to the next (remember, there is no guaranteed order in which pages will be viewed).

Also, consider the effects of scrolling. One example shows a long table, which enables the user to scroll down to a row where the table header is no longer visible, making it difficult to know what the data in the columns represent.

Repeating key information from page to page, or screen to screen, may be necessary to facilitate understanding.

4. Group related elements (4:5)

Information related to a specific topic should be grouped together rather than making the user hunt the site to find it. This is presented a design issue, using white space to separate and group elements in a menu.

EN: it is also a navigation issue - if there are multiple ways to organize content, it may be wise to provide multiple ways to view it, which entails linking to content in different combinations from different menus within a site.

5. Minimize the number of clicks or pages (4:3)

The general guidance is to enable users to efficiently find information by designing a site to require the fewest clicks possible to complete the most common tasks. In general, the more clicks a user must make, the greater the chance of them making a mistake or wrong choice.

Critical information should be placed as close to the home page (in terms of the number of clicks) as possible. (EN: "critical" is not defined - it may mean information that is fundamental, or functions that are the most commonly used on a site). The most critical information should be a direct link. The second layer of importance should be available within two or three clicks.

EN: This is often misinterpreted and applied in an arbitrary manner: the common demand that all content on every Web site must be accessible in three clicks.

The author also concedes that there is research to the contrary: one study found that users are willing to keep clicking as long as they feel that each click is taking them closer to their goal. Another showed that when users were interested in finding something, they will keep digging (statistically, they are no more likely to quit after three clicks than after twelve)

6. Design quantitative content for quick understanding (3:3)

This refers to the use of tables, information graphics, visual models, and other techniques for presenting numeric data in a way that it can be understood at a glance.

The author suggests that presenting raw data in a table (rather than a graph) "generally elicits the best performance" (EN: is he talking about download speed here?), but an information graphic can provide better comprehension.

7. Display Only Necessary Information (3:4)

Limit the information on any given page to that which is needed by the user. Excess (unnecessary) information contributes to clutter and distracts the user from their current task.

EN: There are various sources of extraneous information - most have to do with advertising or promotion.

8. Format Information for Multiple Audiences (3:3)

Provide information in multiple formats if a Web site has distinct audiences who will be interested in the same information.

EN: The author seems to be using "format" to indicate separate presentations on the same topic, geared for specific needs (presenting health information to a patient versus a physician)

9. Use color for grouping (2:5)

Color can be used to show relationships between items (example: mall displays using different colors for anchor stores, retailers, restaurants, facilities, etc.)

EN: This pertains to design rather than information architecture