Designers need to recognize and respect the cues that users
give us when they express their hypermedia experiences in the language
of physical navigation -- they experience the use of these products as
a kind of motion through space. People move through space in ways that
are known (at least partially), so we can use that knowledge to help us
People find their way in space (wayfinding) differently, and they
exhibit these same wayfinding behaviors when they use hypermedia.
People interact with media as if the media itself were other people. Your
design decisions need to take this phenomenon into account.
Structures & Interactions
Navigation is concerned with the connections between the different displays
that are available in a hypermedia system or product. Designers can think
of the overall arrangement of these connections as structures. The design
of your navigation structure is not just a matter of mechanics, but of
emotion and interpersonal dialogue.
Problems & Designing
Avoid a few common problems in navigation design and you will enhance
your chance of creating a usable product. Use an appropriate design process
so that you know what navigation structure you are using and how you will
represent that structure to those using your product.
Fleming, J. (1998). Web navigation: Designing
the user experience. Sebastapol, CA: O'Reilly.
Horton, W. (1994).Designing
and writing online documentation: Hypermedia for self- supporting products,
2nd Edition. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons. (Don't let the publication
date fool you -- this is a valuable reference for design!)
Krug, S. (2000).
Don't make me think! A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability. Indianapolis,
Lynch, P. & Horton, S. (1999). Web
style guide: Basic design principles for designing web sites. New
Haven, CT: Yale University Press. This style guide is also available via
the web as The
Web Style Guide from the Yale Center for Advanced Instructional Media.
Nielsen, J. (1999). Designing
Web Usability : The Practice of Simplicity. Indianapolis, IN: New