Why audience-based navigation does not necessarily work

Duncan Stephen
Wednesday 20 August 2014

‘Hey, you there’: the trouble with audience-based navigation

Gov.uk shared something very interesting about their experience with audience-based labels in their webpages. They found that people do not always identify with the labels given to them. Often it is difficult to find distinct groups within your audiences. Moreover, some users were concerned that information labelled for them was not being presented to other users, even though it was of relevance to wider audiences.

People approach a service based on the task they need to complete; not on their job description.

Unless users’ needs can be clearly divided into distinct audience groups, then it’s very difficult to get audience navigation right without introducing lots of duplication and potential for people to get lost.

As we often find, our research points us back at the design principle ‘do less‘.

We went around some of these points when we decided whether or not to have an International sub-section of the Study at St Andrews section.

This may come up again when we consider the Parents section of the University website. Some stakeholders will argue strongly for its inclusion. Anecdotal evidence suggests that parents are often likely to look at the Admissions (or Study at St Andrews) pages first, rather than exploring the Parents section.

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