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Website Organization

Your visitors are on your website because they’re looking for something. As a web designer, you are responsible for making it easy for them to navigate your website and find exactly what they are looking for. Depending on the purpose of your website, the decisions you make about where to put your information and how to organize that information will vary greatly. Great websites are designed with the content in mind. If you only have a few pages, you can make them all available from the home page. However, websites with many pages should not put all of those on the home page; it is overwhelming for visitors when they don’t know where to click or where to go.

This website has many problems, but one of the major ones is that there are too many options. All of the clickable links on this home page have been boxed in yellow.

Compare that example with this website:

This website may offer just as many products as the other, but by not putting every available option on the front page, site visitors aren't overwhelmed.

To the left of this wiki page is the documentation map/side menu for BYU Domains. You can explore the documentation by expanding the menus. We have tried to organize the pages in a way that would make it easy for users to find what they are looking for. The organization is based on the content; the content is not placed arbitrarily.

This is what you want to be able to do: organize your content so viewers can find what they're looking for easily, and you can add future content without major reorganization. How many more pages do you think you will create in five or ten years? You don’t want to have to reorganize your entire site when you want to add more content.

The first step to take in organizing your content is to decide what you want on your website. For example, a business portfolio may include such pages as ePortfolio, Resume, About, References, Personal Blog, Contact Me, etc. Once you have decided what elements you want to include in your website, there are several ways to organize so that you know where to put these elements.

You can open up an Excel spreadsheet and write out your content based on levels. For example, your organization could look something like this:

Teancum's Website
Level One Level Two Level Three Level Four
Work Experience
Samson's Barbershop
PDF of sales report
PDF of marketing approach
Promised Land Planting
PDF of growth report
PDF of powerpoint presentation
Certification: Official Planting License
Diploma: Nephite Combat University
References Contact
Personal Blog
Contact Me

Level One represents tabs on the main menu. Level two pages can be accessed as tabs on their Level One pages, level three pages are accessed with tabs on level two pages, and so on. For example, the home page of Teancum's website would contain links to all of the pages in level one (Home, ePortfolio, Resume, References Contacts, Personal Blog, About). If a visitor clicked on the “ePortfolio” link, they would see links to “Work Experience” and “Certification.” By clicking on “Work Experience,” the links “Samson's Barbershop” and “Promised Land Planting” would be available on that page. Clicking on “Promised Land Planting” would show the “PDF of growth report” and “PDF of power point presentation” pages.

If visual diagrams work better for you, get into Publisher and create one. Here is an example of what that may look like:

Each color represents a different level. Red is the home page, orange is level one, yellow is level two, green is level three, and blue is level four. In this way, it is easy to organize your pages and decide where pages should go. Links to the next level are contained on the previous level.

Overall the key elements in website planning are clear organization and room for growth. Great organization makes for an efficient and easy-to-use website.