Navigation path

Navigation Paradigm

The navigation paradigm can be described as the imminent logic of your site. It should aim at presenting information in a way that is intuitively comprehensible for the user/reader. This is not an easy task in the creation of a multilingual and multicultural site.

 

You can start by creating a graphic presenting the structure of the site (usually a hierarchy) and use it to discuss the site navigation structure with the team. Try to imagine how to make the site more usable maybe by providing search boxes, context-sensitive help, breadcrumbs, indexes, site maps, navigation bars and structured menus.

How users will navigate around the site and discover the content they are looking for? You can for example choose a topical structure of your content or a structure with respect to life events. A topical structure for a service sites such as an eGovernment would for instance have the sections: employment, residency, taxation, etc. A structure following life events would have sections, such as ‘finding a job’, ‘building a house’, ‘the tax return exercise’, etc., i.e. all information necessary for an administrative event in your life to happen. The so-called matrix structure is useful for enabling users with different needs to navigate through the same content. For some example, some users would like to look for a document by its topic, its year of publication, its author, etc. As to the hierarchical structure (also so-called tree structure), the information gets more and more detailed level after level.

Try to understand the users of your site, the way they work and the way they think. Remember that the navigation scheme should not be too realistic either. In fact, sometimes this approach only confuses users instead of helping them. It is more important that the navigation is consistent throughout the site.

Remember that you will see the “global, top view”, but the people navigating your product will probably not. Even if you provide people with a map, they rather spend most of their time attending to the content of the site, not to the map. So while making your site map, try to represent the complex structure as clearly as possible. Always provide a single page that gives a visual and textual representation or overview of the entire site and which allows users to navigate directly from this representation.