Complex navigation

Duncan Stephen
Monday 8 September 2014

Improving Gov.uk’s navigation

This is an interesting article about changes to the navigation of Gov.uk.

I was struck by the fact that Gov.uk has three different ‘content areas’: mainstream, specialist and whitehall. Mainstream is for the majority of users. Specialist is for those with a professional-level interest in a topic. Whitehall is for those interested in the government itself.

A key principle of good information architecture design is that there should be no need for a user to understand the structure of your organisation. But Gov.uk has found that for whitehall users this can be confusing.

I am not sure we have an equivalent of the specialist audience. But some may think that for some sections of the website we have an audience like the whitehall audience. Some units are sure to argue strongly that this is the case.

What this goes to show is that constructing a navigation structure when you have a wide variety of different types of user is very complicated. This is part of the reason why most university websites are difficult to navigate, and it will be one of our biggest challenges when we come to look at more and more of the website.

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