After conducting research on a competitor site (Marks and Spencer) as detailed in the blog post ‘researching the competitors’ I had a reasonable idea of how I wanted to lay out my site. In order to gain a firmer idea, I started researching websites closer in nature to the site I wished to create. The websites I viewed were; Net-A-Porter, Monica Vinader and Maria Black. These companies offered far more streamlined websites than Marks and Spencer and were far more in keeping with the site I wished to create.
Simplicity and ease of use were the most important factors when considering my layout as, ‘usability is a necessary condition for survival. If a website is difficult to use, people leave‘ (Nielsen,2012). I therefore decided to keep menu pages to a minimum, ensuring only critical pages were included with page names being restricted to one word. As consumer’s dominant online reading pattern is ‘F-Shaped’ (Nielsen,2006) it is incredibly important that the top paragraph, or in this site’s case the top bar menu, be clear so that consumers are drawn in and do not leave the website.
Once I had decided on the pages I wished to include on my site, I created a sitemap. A sitemap is a visual planning tool that can help clarify the content required within a website. It aids prioritising which content is important to retain and which pages to dispose of. Chapman (2011) stated that, ‘Sites without these are often unfocused, hard to navigate, and present poor user experiences’.
I have included a copy of my sitemap below, which shows the sitemap for my main menu and footer menu.
Card sorting is an alternative way of arranging web content. Users can group content together in a way that makes sense to them, based on where the user would expect to find the information. As a method of organising content, this can be extremely useful as the data gathered is from the user perspective. Croft (2014), stated that, ‘User-centered techniques such as card sorting are powerful because they enable you to be much more scientific in diagnosing and fixing website problems’.
Chapman, C. (2011) ‘Why you should build A Sitemap before designing your site’, 14 January. Available at: https://blog.kissmetrics.com/build-a-sitemap/ (Accessed: 5 January 2017).
Croft, P. (2014) ‘Improving your information architecture with card sorting: A beginner’s guide – smashing magazine’, UX Design, 20 October. Available at: https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2014/10/improving-information-architecture-card-sorting-beginners-guide/ (Accessed: 6 January 2017).
Nielsen, J. (2006) ‘F-shaped pattern for reading web content’, 17 April. Available at: https://www.nngroup.com/articles/f-shaped-pattern-reading-web-content/ (Accessed: 5 January 2017).
Nielsen, J. (2012) ‘Usability 101: Introduction to usability’, 4 January. Available at: https://www.nngroup.com/articles/usability-101-introduction-to-usability/ (Accessed: 5 January 2017).