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Browsing Aids - Administration

In this conclusion to a two-part article on the anatomy of an information architecture, we take a close look at its typical components. It is excerpted from chapter four of Information Architecture for the World Wide Web, Third Edition, written by Peter Morville and Louis Rosenfeld (O'Reilly, ISBN: 0596527349). Copyright © 2007 O'Reilly Media, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission from the publisher. Available from booksellers or direct from O'Reilly Media.

TABLE OF CONTENTS:
  1. Components of an Information Architecture
  2. Browsing Aids
  3. Search Aids
  4. Content and Tasks
  5. Invisible Components
By: O'Reilly Media
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June 05, 2008

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These components present users with a predetermined set of paths to help them navigate the site. Users donít articulate their queries, but instead find their way through menus and links. Types of browsing aids include:

Organization systems

The main ways of categorizing or grouping a siteís content (e.g., by topic, by task, by audiences, or by chronology). Also known as taxonomies and hierarchies. Tag clouds (based on user-generated tags) are also a form of organization system.

Site-wide navigation systems

Primary navigation systems that help users understand where they are and where they can go within a site (e.g., breadcrumbs).

Local navigation systems

Primary navigation systems that help users understand where they are and where they can go within a portion of a site (i.e., a subsite).

Sitemaps/Tables of contents

Navigation systems that supplement primary navigation systems; provide a condensed overview of and links to major content areas and subsites within the site, usually in outline form.

Site indices

Supplementary navigation systems that provide an alphabetized list of links to the contents of the site.

Site guides

Supplementary navigation systems that provide specialized information on a specific topic, as well as links to a related subset of the siteís content.

Site wizards

Supplementary navigation systems that lead users through a sequential set of steps; may also link to a related subset of the siteís content.

Contextual navigation systems

Consistently presented links to related content. Often embedded in text, and generally used to connect highly specialized content within a site.



 
 
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