172 Am I There Yet?
173 Match the Site Structure to User Expectations
178 Navigation: Be Consistent
184 Navigation: Beware the Coolness Factor
189 Reduce Clutter and Avoid Redundancy
192 Links and Label Names: Be Specific
202 Vertical Dropdown Menus: Short Is Sweet
202 Multilevel Menus: Less Is More
205 Can I Click on It?
210 Direct Access from the Homepage
Chaotic design leads to dead ends and wasted effort. Hastily thrown-up Web sites without effective information schemes prevent users from getting to the information they seek. When this happens, they may give up or, even worse, go to a different site.
A well-structured site gives users what they want when they want it. In this chapter we look at some of the most common design obstacles that stand between users and their goalsand provide guidelines on how to avoid them.
Over and over again, the people in our studies struggled to get information they wanted, cursing and complaining along the way. In fact, difficulty finding what they were looking for was the biggest problem for our users. Although Search was the single most problematic design issue, four other areas that we collectively call "findability" caused even more difficulties.
These fournavigation and menus; category names; links; and information architecture (IA), which is how the information space is structureddetermine how easy it is to find things by clicking around a site, as opposed to going directly through Search. (Many people consider "category names" to be a subsidiary issue of "information architecture" because structuring and naming often go hand in hand. But because they involve different kinds of design decisions, we feel it's worth considering them as separate issues.)