Information Architecture with Ted Ulle – PubCon 2010

Ted Ulle

Information architecture is often ignored or just set on default. If there’s anything in search that IS rocket science, it’s information architecture and building a taxonomy that’s actually useful for people.

A lot of glorified hover menus are like hosting a dinner party, then letting people raid the fridge. Hovers mean visitors cannot see and compare all the options at once. Categories are often from some company mindset, not a user mindset.

Avoid organizing content:

  • Like the company hierarchy
  • Like a print catalog
  • By content owner
  • By someone’s pet ideas

Forget the “3-Click Rule.” In terms of the user, the number of clicks isn’t important. What’s important is the “information scent.” They should feel like they’re on the right track, not having unnecessary barriers, and not becoming more unhappy as they progress.

When you’re creating information architecture, you should keep menu items to 6 or 7 items, max.

You can be creative with “off-main” nav tools instead of just hover menus. Consider putting contact info and other info in a small drop-down outside

People in the company want the website to be in hover menus, but that’s because they use it every day. Visitors need something different. One test removed the hover menu and page views doubled overnight, with time on site, conversion rates, etc. also increasing. In another case, the number of menu items was reduced from 9 to 6. Revenues went up 58% in the 1st week and were up 46% over 6 months.

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