Lesson 1: Organizing a Website


A key to successfully designing a large website is to organize the information logically, so that users can easily locate the information they're looking for. The first step in organizing a website is a concept called "chunking,", dividing the site's content into manageable chunks of information, with all chunks related conceptually to one another. Content within each chunk can then be arranged hierarchically, so that the most important topics within a chunk will appear first in a navigational system.

Learner Outcomes

At the completion of this exercise:


  1. Read the Web Style Guide chapter on Information Architecture.
  2. Reading Check. Write or type your reponses to the following questions. Have your instructor review your answers.
    1. List the five basic steps to organizing information for a website.
    2. Briefly describe the three essential structures for organizing websites.
    3. How might programmers utilize site diagrams as they move a new website project from planning to production?
  3. Receive a set of index cards from your teacher and read the following scenario:

    You have been hired by a client whose website has gotten unwieldy after years of willy-nilly development. The client is wanting the site to be better organized, starting from the ground up. Each of the cards you received includes a different topic that is addressed on the client's website.

  4. Organize the cards into meaningful chunks and propose to the client a new navigational system, where each chunk represents a link on the navigational menu of the home page. Write or type your navigation links and show them to your instructor. The navigational system should successfully balance the following needs:

    • There should be no more than ten chunks
    • Every page on the website should be no more than three clicks away from the home page.

Resources/Online Documents

All done?

Turn in your answers to the Reading Check and show your instructor your proposed organization of the website. Then, proceed to Unit 2.