This week’s reading are very practical, they talked about what we should take care when designing, what are the advantages and concerns of different navigation systems. Here I am going to list the key points I learned in these reading, and these could be my reference for future design.
Step Navigation: Valuable in processes where decision in one step affects something in the next. It provides simple access to pages, one after another.
Paging Navigation: Rewind and fast-forward are good for larger sets of things, but people rarely jump to the last chunk of a set if the results are ranked by relevance. Direct access paging allows users to directly enter segment to which they want to jump, showing arrows in a grayed out state is best cause it provides valuable information for orienting the visitor.
Breadcrumb Trail: Shows a person’s path through a site. It increases the user’s understanding of site content and structure by providing greater context. But it is often not the only way to navigate.
Tree Navigation: It allows for access to a hierarchical structure. It is commonly seen in operating systems to navigate file folders. Avoid page reloads with tree navigation on the web if you can. If page refreshes are needed, scroll the page automatically to the position the user last left it.
Site Map: It is a representation of a site’s structure used fir navigation. It is often afforded its own page. But sire visitors may not use them often. You need to weigh the advantages and disadvantages carefully.
Directories: It provides access to pages via topics. Category headings are usually arranged alphabetically. Subcategory links under each heading are not alphabetical, they are prioritized, presumably by their usefulness.
Tag Clouds: The more frequently occurring a topic the larger it appears. It is good for dynamic content. It has limited value, if a visitor has a known information need, a cloud of links isn’t really efficient.
A-Z Index: For sites with many repeat visitors, such as a company intranet, a site index can be particularly beneficial. Two key advantages: 1. They are familiar, need almost no learning curve for most people. 2. They enhance search engine optimization, like the site maps.
Navigation Bars and Tabs: They don’t take away from the horizontal width of the main content area. The content can spread out across the entire width of the browser.
Vertical Menu: More flexible than navigation bars or tabs, cause the mechanism can easily extend downward, adding options is usually not as problematic as adding a tab. It generally allow for longer labels, particularly if they can wrap onto two or more lines.
Dynamic Menus: They provide quick access to navigation options. But it might voter other contents.
Drop-down Menus: It is often used for quick links.
Visualizing Navigation: It has limited use and should be reserved for special situations.
Writing Meaningful Links:
1. Don’t make new program and product names into links by themselves.
2. Rethink document titles and headings that turn into links.
3. Think ahead. Match links and page titles.
4. Be as explicit as you can in the space you have- and make more space if you need it.
5. Use action phrases for action links.
6. Use single nouns sparingly; longer, more descriptive links often work better.
7. Add a short description if people need it – or rewrite the link.
8. Make the link meaningful – not Click here, not just More.
9. Coordinate when you have multiple, similar links.
10. Don’t embed links if you want people to stay with your information.
11. If you use bullets with links, make them active, too.
12. Make both unvisited and visited links obvious.