Most of this week’s readings claimed that we try to build websites that suggest a natural order. The way an actual user browses a site is more looking for what they need and mostly disregarding the rest. As I was reading over the texts, I was struck by the fact that I very rarely ever have a set of steps that I am going to take on a website. If I’m going to Amazon, I first narrow down to the category to what I will be searching. Similarly at my favorite news site: I will narrow my topic immediately to what applies to me. This is how I operate on a website, but it is not necessarily the same for other users. My way of searching or browsing feels efficient to me, regardless of how others use a site. Web designers, then, must make different paths equally obvious to different users.
As a side note, I greatly appreciate a “breadcrumb trail” on a website. Sometimes, as you get excited about what you are browsing you forget how you got to where you are. Maybe you are interested in a topic and can just follow the same trail to get to similar items. Or perhaps you are not in the right section, but you can be lead back out. In any case, the “breadcrumb trail” is a simple, yet effective way to prompt navigation on a website.