Wednesday, 28 August 2013

What Does “Great Website Architecture” Mean?

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Getting a good amount of traffic for a website is something that everyone strives for, but what does one have to offer when people stumble upon a website? It is important to address several key points that make up a good website: it needs to be visually stimulating, it needs to have a comprehensive layout, it needs to allow people to get to the pages that they need without too much hassle, it needs to provide information about the blogger/artist/company and their work, showcase all that they have to offer, provide social media sharing capabilities, as well as have plenty of useful information about the niche that the blogger/artist/company is operating in.


Wow, that does sound like a lot, but it doesn’t have to be all that complicated. In fact the key is incorporating all these elements in your website design, but still managing to keep it concise and having a home page that allows quick navigation through the rest of the website. A good website is a perfect balance between utility and flashiness, with a big emphasis on content and media that provides the viewer with something to actually view. Let’s go into a bit more detail on the more important elements of effective website architecture.

The Great Homepage And Linking To Other Pages:

The homepage is you base of operations, so to speak. You will want to have links directly to your most popular pages and news of new offers, deals or events. This is where aesthetics meet functionality and where you have the opportunity to cram in colorful images and information using sliders, as well as have drop boxes that are effectively categorized to allow the viewers to find what they need. Now, a very important point is to avoid going link-crazy and having the viewer click through layers and layers of pages – everything they need should be within 2-3 clicks from the homepage.

Categorizing And Crosslinking Pages:

Being able to find what you need quickly is the most important thing for a person visiting your website, and this is where so often the designer drops the ball. Certain pages that can fit into multiple categories should be accessible through several different paths, and the categories themselves need to be effectively broken down depending on what you have to offer. For example, if you are selling cars you are hardly going to categorize them by color. In that case, you would have categories like hatchbacks, sedans, sports cars, minivans and so on. You could also have several categories based on secondary features that people are interested in - high mileage per gallon, good family cars and cars with the highest safety rating. A nice little Renault would fit into several of these categories and people would be able to get to that particular page through several different paths. Then on that Renault model page you mention that Renaults are some of the safest cars and you link to the page with all the other Renault models and the page that features the cars with the highest safety ratings. This way you make an interconnected web of relevant pages throughout the website.

The Layout Of A Good, Informative Page:

An informative page will feature all that a viewer needs – no less, no more. It is important to focus on elements that will allow the greatest usability of a page – how is it linked internally, does it link to other pages on the website are you cross-linking to other websites from the page? Within the page itself, navigation bars can help tremendously, particularly for e-commerce websites that might have several pages of products within a category and the subcategories help users find what they want without having to click through ten pages and scroll down each one. A blog page is essential for providing useful content and additional information, so that you don’t have to clutter up other pages – having access to recent and relevant posts enhances usability as well.

When looking at website architecture you need to be constantly thinking about the average user; what will they be looking for and how easy they will find it to navigate the website? Testing your website can help provide you with useful clues about optimizing your design features, but you will need a good base to begin with. So put yourself in the average Joe’s shoes and take another look at how your website is structured.

Author Author - Mark Taylor is a full time employee with Melbourne based web development company - Leading Edge Web - as a UX specialist and digital producer . Working closely with well-known brands and leading Australian companies , he helps define the optimum digital solution for their online presence. Mark also liaises with internal developers and creative teams in managing project scope
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