Divide web content by people

Another useful way to break up your web content is to consider who is going to use the information.

Separating information for different site visitors may work well at many levels within a site. The Nokia and Intuit examples earlier in this chapter ask people to self-identify by the product for which they want help. That's typical of support and troubleshooting information on sites that support many products.

On some web sites, information for different people is totally separate and the site helps people self-identify right on the home page. Figure 5-6, from The Pension Service in the U. K., shows how one site helps its web users start down paths that are relevant to their different needs.

Breaking up information by user types works, however, only if people will be able to quickly and clearly self-identify into the right group. If they have to stop and think about which link to choose - or if they are likely to start down a wrong path - dividing the information by user type may be more frustrating than helpful.

Consider also whether some people will feel excluded if you divide information by user type. They may feel excluded if they do not see them

/^S The "main menu" of this f ^J site is divided by type of user.

/^S The "main menu" of this f ^J site is divided by type of user.

Figure 5-6 Having separate sections for different user types (different personas) makes sense for some sites, but only if people will easily identify which user type to choose. www.thepensionservice.gov.uk

/^S Did they develop I ^J personas for user types?

Figure 5-6 Having separate sections for different user types (different personas) makes sense for some sites, but only if people will easily identify which user type to choose. www.thepensionservice.gov.uk

selves in any of your user types. Even if they find a relevant user type, they may think you are excluding them from information they may want because that information is under a different user type.

If people are likely to want information you have under different user types, make it clear and easy for them to move between different versions or different levels of related information. For example, Figure 5-7 shows how the U. S. National Cancer Institute (NCI) lets people move easily between articles written for the general public and articles on the same topic in more technical detail and more technical language aimed at health care professionals.

Everyone coming to this site can f J choose to read either one or both versions of the information on each topic.

Cancer Topict

National Cancer Institute

U-S National Inttilutet of Health I www.cancef.gow

Cancer Topict

Skin Cancer (POO®): Prevention hi

Overview of Prevent!!

National Cancer Institute

U-S National Inttilutet of Health I www.cancef.gow

Skin Cancer (POO®): Prevention

Overview of Prevent!!

Skin Cancer (PDQ®): Prevention

Priti* vtr ion profeflwonil vtrtton

This article on preventing skin cancer talks to nonspecialists.

Skin Cancer (PDQ®): Prevention

Priti* vtr ion profeflwonil vtrtton

Summary of Evidence

Evrltret at Barel!

This article on the same topic is more technical.

Figure 5-7 Separating information into general and technical articles may work well. If some site visitors want both, make it obvious how to move from one to the other. www.cancer.gov

The NCI folks learned in usability testing that patients and their families liked starting with the general information in lay language, but they also wanted access to the more technical information when they felt ready for it.

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