A346 Chapter 4 Site Content Organization
According to several surveys, most people respond to the question of "What do you hate most about the Web" with "I can't find what I'm looking for", meaning they are often lost. Good content organization creates the foundation for effective site navigation.
Much of the following discussion is based on the project, the stock trading Web site.
- Organizational schemes - A classification system for content items, a way to cluster things into groups based on some common characteristic such as color, size, etc.
- Organizational structures - Determines the relationship between the groups. For example, a family tree would define the relationship of each person to you using a hierarchical structure with you at the root.
Divide information into mutually groups. Effective when you know what you want, called known-item searching. Rarely useable, consider searching for information using the exact organization of books by author versus keyword search. Examples are:
No clear cut categorization rules, some items may be clearly in one category, other items may be in several. Four ambiguous schemes:
- Topical - Organizes content items by subject, large number of subjects organized in some hierarchy from general to more specific. For example, stock trading is a specific form of investing.
- Task-oriented - Organize content into a collection of functions, services or tasks. Used in program menu systems grouping file, edit, help, etc. functions.
- Audience-specific - Effective when two or more identifiably distinct audiences. The stock trader site could be tailored for individual and institutional investors.
- Metaphor-driven - Effective when users possess content knowledge. For example, a garage site might organize content by tune-up, lube, brakes, etc.
Defines the relationships among the groups created by an organizational scheme. Organizational schemes create groups.
Three common structures:
- Hierarchical - Top-down structure according to rank or level. Advantage of familiar and predictable structure. First shows big picture followed by levels of successively finer detail as user moves down through structure. Breadth is number of links available at each level, depth is the number of levels. Pure hierarchical organization makes moving up and down the hierarchy simple but moving across difficult. Cross links can mitigate problem.
- Hypertext - Content linked together, very flexible but easy for user to get lost in links, unable to form mental model of structure. Best to avoid pure use.
- Database - Bottom-up view of site, search of database allows user to directly access content without navigation. Works well if content compatible with database. Consider Amazon.com's use of author, ISBN, etc. to locate books directly. Yahoo! provides both a hierarchy subject list and search.
|Interactive - Visitors see a
different view of the Website with each visit. Generally requires server
programs that generate personalized pages from a database and store personal
information to the database.
Static - Visitors see basically the same view with each visit, little or no visitor information retained for later use. This page is an example of static content. Most of our pages will be static because we are not programming the server-side..
|The structure of website is defined
by the links from one HTML file to another HTML file. The text defines four
- What structure is used by most online air ticketing?
- What structure would be best for the following:
- IUS or similar educational institution.
- Term paper sales.
The previous discussion illustrated site organization but did not answer the question of "how to organize content so people can find what they want". The following presents methods for gathering content and determining an appropriate organization.
Objects - Form the site content.
Actions - Tasks the user performs.
Analyze the proposed Web site for objects (nouns) and actions (verbs). Refer to existing documents such as a catalog for an e-commerce store site, written procedures for existing tasks, and, of course, the user and task analysis. Avoid repetitive terms such as: enter name, enter password, enter stock, enter amount, etc. that create an artificial group of terms.
For the Orbitz site, some important objects and actions are:
Objects Actions passenger
What are at least 6 objects for stock trading?
What are at least 6 actions for stock trading?
Organizing ambiguous content is best done by users essentially voting on how to group content items.
One method is card sorting for which the manual version is performed by:
- content items are written on 3x5 cards and uniquely numbered on the back.
- scatter the cards
- users sort cards into piles of related items
- users write name for each pile on Post-It note
- turn cards number side up and record grouping for each user
- look for commonalities in grouping, such as the number of times card 3 and 4 were in the same pile.
There is no correct number of piles except more than one.
- Each time two cards are in the same pile assign 1 point.
- Add up all the times two cards are in a pile together and divide by the number of users. If all users place cards 3 and 4 in a pile, the similarity rating is 1, if no one did, the rating is 0.
Example - The following is a partial analysis of cards 1-5 sorted by 4 users, A-D.
Card sorting raw data results User A User B User C User D Sum Similarity Rating 1,5
Score Cards 1 and 2
Cards 1 and 3
Cards 1 and 4
Cards 1 and 5
0/4 = 0
0/4 = 0
1/4 = .25
3/4 = .75
Apply card sorting to the objects and actions of Exercise 1.
Card sorting tools are available for download, USort for entering and sorting the cards and EzCalc for analysis.
EzCalc displays similarity results as tree diagrams using three analysis algorithms ("Complete", "Single" and "Average"). In brief, Single linkage algorithm emphasizes more on similarities, while Complete linkage algorithm emphasizes more on differences. Average algorithm gives a balance of these two algorithms. So, each algorithm provides information structure at a different angle. For more information about the statistics principles of the three algorithms, visit http://www.statsoftinc.com/textbook/stcluan.html#a.
Distance from cards is used instead of a similarity rating. A distance of 0 means that everyone placed two cards together. In the Distance Matrix below, everyone combined 2 and 3 in the same pile. A distance of 1 means no one combined the two cards.
The average results displayed as a tree indicates cards 2,3 were grouped together by 100% of users (i.e. distance 0), cards 1,5 were grouped together by about 75% (i.e. distance .25). More complex groupings such as 2,3 with 1,4,5 indicate a high distance or low similarity rating.
Distance Matrix: (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) 1 (1) 1.0000 1.0000 1.0000 0.7500 0.2500 2 (2) 1.0000 1.0000 0.0000 0.7500 0.7500 3 (3) 1.0000 0.0000 1.0000 0.7500 0.7500 4 (4) 0.7500 0.7500 0.7500 1.0000 0.5000 5 (5) 0.2500 0.7500 0.7500 0.5000 1.0000
User A User B User C User D 1,5
Enter your stock trader card numbers into the USort program.
- Download and install USort
- Execute USort.
- Click: "I am a study participant".
- Enter your name.
- Enter or select: v:\common\user\a346\Stock.cld
- Sort the cards by dragging from left to right side.
- In Step 2, double click on the single lines between piles. The lines should now appear as =====.
- Save your results.
The instructor will analyze the results of the card sorting. To do so yourself:
- Download and install EZCalc
- Execute EZCalc.
- Click: File | New
- Enter: Stock.rec
- Click: Add from a Participant Data File.
- Add all the files with .esd extension.
- To view graphs click one of: Complete, Single, Average buttons.
- To view the distance matrix click: Matrix
What can you say about organizing stock trading content?