UX Australia 2010

Designing for content-rich sites

(Half-day workshop, morning)

Research has shown us how some sites, no matter what users are looking for, make it easy to always find the relevant information. Other sites, no matter how hard the users try, are too difficult and frustrating. In this workshop, Jared Spool will share the secret of designing sites rich in content, such that users are delighted and ready to return time after time.

You’ll learn how the content on your site emits “scent” and how to ensure users catch hold of it as they maneuver through your site’s pages. At the end of this workshop, you’ll know exactly what you need to do to greatly enhance the usability of your content-rich site.

Session 1: Why Good Content Must Suck: Designing for the Scent of Information

If you have thousands of pages of really cool stuff on your site, how do users find what they are looking for? Turns out that the content itself has to pull the user to it. The stronger the pull, the more likely the user will find it.

In this presentation, Jared discusses how to organize your site to pull users to the right place. He’ll talk about User Interface Engineering’s recent research on how people find information on large web sites. Jared shows you plenty of examples of sites that work well and those that don’t.

He’ll discuss how the quality of links affects whether users click on them; how longer pages actually help users get where they are going faster; the 3 types of graphics: navigation, content, and decorative and the importance of each; how users follow a scent and four ways your design could be blocking their smell.

Session 2: The Scent of a Web Page: Five Types of Navigation Pages

You work hard providing top-notch content on your site. Will your users find it? If they don’t find it, all that effort is for nothing. What can you do to guarantee that users find the content they’ve come looking for? You’ll come away with the most up-to-the-minute research on how users actually navigate sites.

As users traverse through a web site, they encounter different types of pages, each with unique functions. The designers of the best sites understand the special functions of each type of page on a web site, and design the pages individually based on their specific purpose.

Our research has uncovered three ways to predict when users will fail finding the content they desire. We’ll show you what these three predictors are and how to counter the effects in your design.

We will share the secrets behind successful designs including Lands’ End, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, CNN, and the BBC. You’ll learn why trigger words are critical to users successfully finding their content, why the best sites prevent users from using Search, how exposing a site’s hierarchy can increase the success of the user, how designing longer pages helps users find what they seek, and how to best use lateral links and breadcrumbs.