Audit of Navigation and Site Structure


Introductory Concepts

Information Architecture (IA) is an information site’s rod; navigation (UI) are elements that allow visitors to find the information on this site. Practitioners web designers and marketers sometimes make mistakes, identifying the concept of information architecture (IA) and navigation. These concepts are certainly related, but not identical. IA forms navigate web resource certainly, but “information architecture” is a much more global concept that goes far beyond the simple site navigation.

What Is Information Architecture of the Site?

Information architecture of the site includes two main components:

  • identification and content/functionality of the site
  • the basic organization, structure and specifications that define the relationship between the content/functionality of the site.

Information Architecture (IA) is not a part of the user interface (UI), which is displayed on the screen, and configures IA rather causes appearance of a set of options and UI. Information Architecture (IA) represented as spreadsheets and charts, and not as a layout: complete layout or prototypes.
Despite the fact that the information structure of the site (IA) is invisible, within the user interface (UI), it certainly has a definite impact on the user experience (UX). As is known, the user experience as a whole includes everything that a user meets. Although regular users do not see the site structure, they need to feel that the content is divided and grouped according to their needs and expectations.
Unfortunately, most visitors leave even multi-sites and stand-alone Landing Page, despite the fact that the information architecture of last is much simpler. However, they often experience discomfort and frustration due to poor organization structure and/or specification (the nomenclature) site.
Actions to determine the information architecture:

  • Inventory of content: site audit in order to locate and identify the content posted on it.
  • Audit content: evaluation of the utility of accuracy, style and overall effectiveness of the content.
  • Grouping information: determination of content of user-oriented relationships.
  • Taxonomy: definition of a standardized agreement on assignment of names (controlled vocabulary) applied in respect of all site content.
  • Creating descriptive information: identification of useful metadata that can be used to create the related links, lists or other navigation elements that allow to find a particular content.

 

Usability of the User Interface.

What is site navigation_

What Is Site Navigation?

Site Navigation is a set of user interface elements. The main purpose of navigation is to help visitors to find the desired information and functionality, and to provoke them to certain actions.
The main elements of navigation include:

  • Global navigation
  • Local navigation
  • Additional navigation (utility navigation)
  • Category filters, borders, and so price. n. (filters)
  • Related Links (related links),
  • “Thick” footer (fat footer), duplicating elements of a global, local and supporting navigation in the actual “basement” of the page, etc.

Some examples of navigation elements: a compact menu, global navigation, “bread crumbs”, local navigation, related links (in this case, articles and blog posts), fatty footer.
For each element of navigation is required some decisions:
Priority use: how users rely on any element of navigation? For example, users can navigate the site using mostly local navigation? Or they rely more on the related links?
Accommodation: On what pages should be placed navigation elements? Where they should be, within the grid layout of the page?
Scheme of the project: In which circuits (template) project detectability optimal performance and visibility.

What is the relationship between information architecture and navigation?
Obviously, the navigation does not cover the entire content of the site completely and does not disclose all of the functionality of the web resource, sooner or later will require a total redesign.

Site Navigation - a set of user interface elements. The main purpose of navigation is to help visitors to find the desired information and functionality, and to provoke them to certain actions. Click To Tweet

Types Of The Built-In Navigation

 

There are following types of navigation:

  • Global Navigation
  • Local Navigation
  • Contextual Navigation

Global navigation is always ready to help answer the question “Where am I?”
Local navigation tells, “What is still around?”
Contextual navigation contributes finding “What else can be found having regard to the information on the page?”

 

Types Of Site Navigation

 

Menu

Electronics__Cars__Fashion__Collectibles__Coupons_and_More___eBay

Path String

Authentic_Casio_G_Shock_DW_5600P_4JF_Wristwatch___eBay

Auxiliary Navigation (standard icons)

Electronics__Cars__Fashion__Collectibles__Coupons_and_More___eBay

Accidental Navigation

Electronics__Cars__Fashion__Collectibles__Coupons_and_More___eBay

Contextual Navigation

Authentic_Casio_G_Shock_DW_5600P_4JF_Wristwatch___eBay

Intertextual navigation (hypertext)

Authentic_Casio_G_Shock_DW_5600P_4JF_Wristwatch___eBay

Types Of Internal Navigation:

  • Hierarchical
  • Bot Navigation
  • Facet Navigation

Indexes:

  • Page Rubricator
  • Alphabetical Index
  • Type or Class Categories
  • Parametric Categories
  • Tagged Categories

 

Audit of Using Facet Navigation

Faceted navigation is a type of structuring the site in which users can specify a different desired parameters, in order to find the desired product or service.

banksy_original___eBay
When you do the audit of using faceted navigation, you should answer the main questions:

1. Does the site use facet navigation?

2. If the site uses faceted navigation, does it create duplicate content issues?

When facet structure of the site, the problem of duplicate content arises from the presence of different navigation paths to the same page. And if you carelessly react to this question, you will get the same content on multiple pages. Not important which navigation path is used by a visitor to find a specific product. It is important to be indexed only one way. To do this, use the CMS. Otherwise, the same page will be indexed more than once. Look for query parameters used by faceted navigation (if it’s parameter driven) and see if they’re listed in Google webmaster tool’s URL Parameters report (under Crawl).

Webmaster_Tools_-_URL_Parameters_-_http___moms_com_

3. If it’s not using faceted navigation, should it?
If a site has a lot of product pages paginated, this could be an indicator that the site should use faceted navigation.

4. What the number of facets is necessary that your site has been indexed qualitatively?
Ideally, the facet’s “depth” should not exceed 100 items. Such principle will allow search engines to index all the pages of the resource. Most professionals tend to believe that search engine crawlers can recognize more than 100 links on one page. However, it is best to adhere to the following view: since most of the sites in any case have navigation links on every page of links, number of links to products on a separate page should not exceed 100.

5. Facets and search filters
Perhaps your site has an option that will not be so important in terms of search engine optimization. For example, for visitors is very convenient to select items on the desired size, and you can not be interested in indexing this particular resource page. In this case, apply filters using JavaScript and close certain internal pages from being indexed.

los_angeles_real_estate_-_craigslist

site_losangeles_craigslist_org_inurl_sort_priceasc_-_Google_Search

6. Sorting

Laptop_Computers___Electronics_-_Walmart_com
Possibly additional selection parameters are included (for example, the price of the product, its popularity, and so on. D.). Of course, it is very convenient for customers, but there is a risk of duplicate content. If you do not want the same page has been indexed by the search robot several times because of different navigation paths of its location, use rel=canonical, JavaScript or Ajax.

 

Once Again about the Uniqueness of the Content

Let’s say a site acceptable facet navigation, relevant pages for each keyword or phrase. But in spite of it all, your site still contains a lot of look-alike pages, content of which is the product lists. Therefore, for each page to be created its unique content, and the most important pages, the better in terms of uniqueness should be its content.


About Nick Sawinyh

Proud father, husband, and corgi-owner. I've been working in SEO Industry for more than ten years. I love finding new trends that affect technologies that impact the world of telecommunications and web. Co-founder and Product Manager at Seomator