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analyticalQ book review - by Anne Ku

Web Navigation: Designing the User Experience

by Jennifer Fleming

Copyright 1998, paperback 255 pages, O'Reilly & Associates

ISBN1-56592-351-0

9 September 2000

Navigation is essential but often overlooked and most certainly, in my experience, not thought of as something separate from the content. The author is a user experience consultant - which I take to mean - design for the user. I'd like to interpret this as - let the user be the designer.

This is really a reference book and comes with a CD. Among the many reading recommendations are some classics:

  • Donal Norman, The Design of Everyday Things, Doubleday 1990
  • Albers Joseph, The Interaction of Color, 1963

Grice's Maxim's on polite conversation also applies to content management:

  • Quality: saying true things (reliability, accuracy?)
  • Quantity: saying neither too much nor too little (information overload!)
  • Relevance: saying things that relate to the topic at hand
  • Clarity: saying things clearly and well.

The basic navigation needs includes answers to these first tier questions:

  • Where am I?
  • Where can I go
  • How will I get there?
  • How can I get back to where I once was?

Second tier are the purpose-oriented questions (depending on the type of site: identity, learning, information, entertainment, etc.)

Third tier relates to the topic or audience-oriented questions.

Lots of good links in the back.

The trend is having updates on a companion web site. In this case, it's at http://www.squarecircle.com/navigation.