Continuation of Principles of Information Architecture- Part I
When you are categorizing your content, make sure you add a few examples of what the user might find under the category. The title of the category already creates a mental model for the user but the examples help them to get a better understanding than adding just a description to it. For example, if you are shopping for your home at Amazon and you look at the category, it says ‘Home Garden & Tools’. Under this category you then have – home, kitchen & dining, furniture, bedding & bath etc. This categorization helps the user easily find what they are looking for.
People have different ways of finding information. You may search for an item using just the name of the product while someone else may use a more generalized title for the same item. You have to let them find what they are looking for by providing multiple ways but not too many that it will overwhelm them.
When you are designing the navigation of a user through your site, make sure that they remain on the main page of the site even if you offer them with a ‘left-bar’ or ‘right-rail’ to browse contents.
Always keep in mind that the content you have today might double or quadruple in size in the coming years. And when it does, make sure you can accommodate it. The information available on the web is always increasing not decreasing. And there are always people looking for more information. If you have a retail site, the categories you have today will increase as your business grows and you have to make space for the new categories. There is no easy way for this but to plan ahead of time of how the content might grow and then to make sure you leave room for it.
Eight Principles of Information Architecture by Dan Brown