PerlHoo, Part II | 2 | WebReference

PerlHoo, Part II | 2

PerlHoo, Part II

Why a Web Directory is Useful

Content is King

When it comes to the Web, content is king. Unfortunately, too much content can quickly become difficult to manage and can be intimidating for the user if it's not organized and presented appropriately. Creating and managing quality content is a time consuming and expensive enterprise. One of the important skills required in content management and information architecture is the ability to organize information so it's easy for users to find. This is not a trivial exercise. Information architects will tell you that your business will fail if it's not done right. Of course, they're partially right. Maybe even more so on the Web where you have a matter of seconds before a user becomes frustrated and leaves.

Lack of Structure is a Killer

How many times have you visited a Web site, book store, or library where browsing for information was a frustrating and painstaking process? A well structured Web site is not always noticeable, but a lack of coherence and organization will direct your users somewhere else; even worse, the somewhere else is probably a competitor. Take the table of contents in your favorite technical manual for example. Imagine trying to find information without it. Do you think it might be difficult to find documentation for a specific technical feature by thumbing through the book cover to cover. I can imagine my technical library now, a mass of books with hundreds of bent pages, stickum notes, and pieces of paper sticking out. Does this sound like your Web site? If it does, your Web works has a leaky faucet that needs to be fixed.

People Have Better Things To Do

Think about it for a minute. Most users that visit your Web site spend most of their time browsing for something of interest. Whether the user is looking for something specific or just window shopping, if the information they're looking for isn't at their fingertips they'll go somewhere else. This is especially important for Web sites that maintain large and/or multiple sets of content that are many levels deep. If there isn't a clear way for users to reach information that may be many levels deep, people will never stick around long enough to find what they're looking for.

Produced by Jonathan Eisenzopf and
Created: April 19, 1999
Revised: April 21, 1999