An Overview on Key Elements of Website Architecture

Website architecture determines the navigability of a site. Three basic steps need to be considered for a quick and easy way to develop a navigation scheme for any website.

01)      Top Level – It is suggested by experts to begin with the top level of the site that include several pages and is inclusive of the home page. The next step would be to consider the main menu or site index which is generally observed as the Nav-Bar lying across the top or lower down to the left of the site. The main challenge remains for the top level and before ascertaining the type of pages that would stay at the top level, it has to be decided whether the top level navigation scheme should include “grayed out” links and also whether there should be a “home page”. Once the web developer realizes that the home page is just another page among several pages at the top level, then it becomes easier to design the top level navigation.

02)      The Second Level of Architecture – are pages one navigates to while going “down from” the top level pages. An instance being a top level page called “facilities” would have second level pages which explain in detail about each of the “facilities”. A top level page termed as “accommodation” would have second level pages for diverse “accommodation” choices and so forth. This suggests that if a website is only two levels deep, every site should not be more than three clicks away. The idea behind this procedure is that every page should be accessible in no more than three clicks and even fewer if possible. At the same time when a user wants to visit another page in the same second level, then it should only be one click away. This presumes that there is a second level navigation scheme but if it can not be availed of then the user should go up one level. Hence, if the user is anywhere in the “accommodation second level” stage, one should be able to see links to all the other “accommodation” pages. Having the second level navigation is crucial. At the same time, the web developer should contemplate whether to install the third level as well as the type of navigation scheme it would display.

03)      The next stage is balancing the number of pages at each level – If the web developer decides to install twenty pages in the preliminary version of the site, the pages can be arranged in several ways :

      • All at one level with each page having a “Nav-Bar” containing all top twenty level pages.
      • Or each on separate levels that is a vertical structure where the individual pages has one link up and one link down. One can also have a linear structure like a slide presentation.
      • Or having the same number of pages at each level.

 

Most experts suggest that having the same number of second level pages as in top level pages help in the navigability of the site and provides the website architecture a sense of balance. Whenever there is a substantial volume of information that the client desires to display on the web, the basic requirement is to split the data bank and offer ways to web users to find their way through in order to reach their expected information.

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