Slides for Write the Docs Portland presentation on doc navigation best practices
Here’s the description:
Building navigation for your doc site: 5 best practices
Although users typically arrive at doc websites in a confused and impatient state, not sure of where to find what they’re looking for, good navigation can guide them to the right answer. Good navigation anticipates users’ needs, provides links in commonly viewed places, and brings the right topic into the foreground amid hundreds of other topics.
As you build out the navigation for your doc site, follow these 5 design principles:
Entry point. Design the entry point to your system to orient users and allow them to easily get started.
Hierarchy. Create a hierarchical outline of the content to help users both understand and visualize the body of information.
Modularity. Break up content into independent topics that can be viewed, understood, and updated independent of the whole.
Progressive disclosure. Layer the information so that you don’t present everything at once but rather make some content available only at secondary or tertiary levels.
Wayfinding. Provide navigational signposts — such as breadcrumbs and workflow maps — to help orient users as to where they are in a larger system.
Note that I’m working on a narrative version of this presentation. I’ll let you know the details when I finish. Also, Write the Docs records all the speakers, so I’ll be sure to update this post with the recording when it becomes available.
I'd Rather Be Writing Newsletter
Get new posts delivered straight to your inbox.
About Tom Johnson
I'm a technical writer based in the California San Francisco Bay area. In this blog, I write about topics related to technical communication — Swagger, agile, trends, learning, plain language, quick reference guides, tech comm careers, academics, and more. I'm interested in simplifying complexity, API documentation, visual communication, information architecture and findability, and more. If you're a technical writer of any kind (progressional, transitioning, student), be sure to subscribe to email updates using the form above. You can learn more about me here. You can also contact me with questions.