Jul 30 2008

Website-Design Tip of the Day: Readers Deserve More than Archives

Published by at 7:26 am under Technical Advice,Website Organization

Archives are not a particularly effective way to organize your website’s content. A list of years and months doesn’t help readers figure out what sort of content your site offers. In contrast, listing a few of the categories you post in most frequently will help readers understand what your website offers. Archives are also inadequate because they’re daunting and impenetrable for new viewers. I wouldn’t recommend placing archives high in your sidebar, although you may that they are useful at the bottom because returning viewers like using them.

I recommend placing index pages ahead of archives. For example, readers that click on the entries in our Top Categories sidebar get sent to an index page where we tried to lay out our content intelligently. For example, our index of writing guides organizes 30 writing articles into seven sections, such as Characterization and Common Writing Mistakes. Readers can navigate through an index more easily than through a flood of articles thrown at them in no particular order. If readers can easily find the content that interests them, they are far more likely to actually read it.

What do you think? Which sites do you find particularly easy to navigate?

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