Well-organized Content Is Imperative
It doesn't matter how well your content is written if no-one can find it.
At an ABA Administrative Law conference, the primary FOIA officer for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) reported that of the top 10 FOIA requests people made each year, over half were for documents that already appeared on HUD's website. The problem was that no-one, including HUD employees, could actually find them.
Your users need to be able to find what they need, but the way you organize your information isnt necessarily the way they look for it. So, you need to know:
- who your users are,
- what your users want, and
- where they think that content is.
Identify your users, discover their tasks, and find out what they think is a logical order
- Create an on-site survey
- If you deal with users by mail, include a paper survey in a regular mailing
- Visit offices where users interact with your organization directly. Talk to users, and the people who serve them.
- Conduct one-on-one interviews
- Conduct a focus group
You can find out how to use these and other techniques at www.usability.gov.
Map out your site
- There are three main types of pages:
- Homepages (portals)
- Connector or pathway pages
- Content pages
- The first two types should contain a minimum of text
If you have mapped out your site, you'll have much less trouble creating site navigation and internal links.