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Designing Web Navigation by James Kalbach

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INFORMATION SHAPE

There's more to navigation than providing clear, concise links, and smooth transitions from page to page. You must consider the information shape, as well. With shape, the form in which we experience information becomes an important navigational element itself. For instance, news articles tend to have similar shape. They start with the basic facts, then introduce people and quote them, and gradually go into more detail before tapering off. Understanding this shape potentially helps you both navigate and comprehend the article.

Andrew Dillon and Misha Vaughan proposed the notion of shape in hypertext documents, defining shape as:

"...a property conveyed both by physical form and by information content. Separating these elements completely is perhaps impossible but one can talk of the distinction between the layout and sequencing of information as viewed by the consumer (user or reader) and the cognitive representation of meaning that employs (at least in theoretical terms) knowledge structure such as schemata, mental models and scripts.[36]"

People naturally seek order and patterns when they come in contact with online information. This helps them predict, reorient, and habituate in the navigation process. When web content has a consistent shape (i.e., consistent physical and semantic patterns), it's easier for people to use.

DOCUMENT GENRE

The word "genre" has its roots in art and literature. In the broadest sense of the term, it refers to a distinct category of works ...

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