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The Need for Navigation

A simple guide to structuring your site

I recently went to the Web site for a top vacuum company, in desperate need of a manual on how to replace a broken belt. I couldn't find the link to the manual for 20 minutes, and it was a small site. That's just one example of problems with site navigation.

When building your site, you must first plan its architecture. Begin with a list of the sections for your site. Then draw a traditional flowchart, starting at the top with the homepage and branching out to the main sections.

When planning your site, try not to plan for more than four to six main sections such as:

  • Products/Services
  • Company Background
  • The Team
  • Contact Information

Then plan the subsections accordingly: Products/Services

Catalog or Rate sheet

Company Background

History
Testimonials
Press Releases

The Team

Bios

Contact Information

Map
Directory

With this structure mapped out, make sure the Web interface-the design that visitors interact with-is clean by using buttons, links or pull-down menus to lead to information. Visitors shouldn't have to click more than twice to access almost anything on your site.

Aliza Sherman is an entrepreneur and author of Cybergrrl: A Woman's Guide to the World Wide Web (Ballantine Books). She is currently working on her next book and new company.

Aliza Sherman is a web pioneer, e-entrepreneur and author of eight books, including

PowerTools for Women in Business.

Her work can be found at mediaegg.com.

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