3.2 Information Architecture
PSG Number: GM-14-005
Topical Area: Web Design and Development
Issue Date: 11/1/2013
Effective Date: 11/1/2013
Document Type: Guideline; Published (approved by Web Standards Group and GTA)
POC for Changes: Georgia.gov Interactive
Synopsis: Information Architecture guidelines for State of Georgia sites.
Taxonomy defines the words and icons used to represent and organize the categories of the website into appropriate classifications of information data.
Proper taxonomy includes both contextual and visual (iconic) elements used throughout the site. The contextual components ensure that selections are named and grouped in accord with a visitor’s expectations and mindset based on hierarchical classifications.
- DO NOT use jargon or terms that only your internal staff would understand:
|DO Use terms such as...||DON’T Use technical terms such as...|
- DO use the same standard terms and phrases throughout the website.
e.g., if the site uses “Go” for a button on one screen, it should use “Go” for the same button on all other screens.
- DO use terminology that the casual visitor would readily find/understand on any other commonly used site.
e.g.: “Site Map” is a commonly understood Web link – so don’t create your own name such as “Web Hierarchy”.
3.2.2 Navigation Menus
To help users find the information they’re looking for, it is important to keep your site’s navigation menus organized in a way that is manageable for visitors who aren’t familiar with your site. The following are some ways to do this.
- DO limit the first level to 7 terms or less for sites using horizontal navigation.
- DO limit the sub navigation to no deeper than 4 child levels.
- DO use simple phrases (1 or 2 words) for menu items to allow for quick scanability.
- DO NOT place links to external pages (pages not within your website) in the navigation menus
Online tools such as Optimal Workshop can help you to rethink and reorganize your information architecture to fit within these limits.
* Note to portal customers: the above restrictions for first level and sub navigation are also restricted at the code level on portal websites. No child navigation items deeper than 4 levels will appear in the website navigation, and top-level navigation that doesn’t fit in one row on the sites also will not appear.