Recently Paul Boag of Boag World aired a show which discussed how designing a web site should be more like designing a poster. Designing a web site like a poster is great and has it’s advantages; flexibility, structure and design but it lacks the one element which is essential in web design, the navigation.
The navigation is truly important in every web site, without a clearly defined navigational system your users will be lost and the web site rendered useless.
A far better medium to use as your resource are printed magazines. Magazines all have structural elements which make them easy to use and a joy to read, all while remaining completely transparent to the user. These elements are; Cover page(This tells the readers what they are buying and what the magazine is about), Table of content (This tells the readers where to find the main articles), Articles(the content for the readers to read), and Index(Tells your users where to find the information).
Break down any web site and you will get four(4) basic structural elements that are identical to a magazine in the following ways: the header is the cover page of the magazine, the main navigation is the table of contents, the body are the articles of the magazine and the footer and/or sitemap is the index, closing statements or any legal information.
Making sure that these four(4) elements are included in your web site design will allow your users to feel comfortable and focus in on the reason they came to your website in the first place: The Content.
Each website should also include:
design, typography, and hierarchy.