Screen shot 2012-06-27 at 3.45.33 PM Theory

The Usability ABC – part 4

This week I’d like to add some rather basic webdesign terms to our list of definitions: information architecture, sitemap, breadcrumbs, main body, fold. Again, these items are added to our growing page of usability terms.

Information architecture
Information architecture describes the presentation of information on a website. This includes three main aspects: 1. The structure of the information, such as which elements to link and which categories to group them in. 2. The design of the navigation to ensure that users understand it. 3. The wording of different content elements and categories that correspond with users’ expectations. A good information architecture ensures that website visitors quickly find what they are looking for.
Sitemap
The sitemap of a website is an overview of all web pages that are included in the website. The sitemap shows how the different web pages are linked and helps the user gain a conceptual understanding of the site. Ideally, the sitemap is interactive and allows users to directly go to the different pages.
Breadcrumbs
Breadcrumbs are a special form of navigation that is sometimes offered on a website. Breadcrumbs help users orientate within a website by indicating his or her current location. They usually start at the home page and then list step for step the different web pages the user has visited to get to the current page. Breadcrumbs are usually interactive and can be used to go back to any of the pages visited between the home and the users current location.
Main body
The main body of a web page describes the area in the center of the page (between the header, the footer and optional side bars) that is used for actual content.
Fold
The fold of a website is an imaginary line that divides your website into two parts. The part above the fold is what you see immediately after loading a website in your browser. The part below the fold can only be seen after scrolling the page. So depending on the size of your browser, or more dominantly your screen, the position of the fold can vary. Make sure to place your most relevant information and links above the fold.

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