Simplifying website structure may appear to be counterintuitive but here are three solid reasons why.
Learning is hard work and takes time!
According to Jakob Neilsen people learn a core set of features fairly easily during their early use of a system whether it be a website or other computer system. This includes experts in the field. Everyone learns things differently.
When Microsoft's Office 2007 was released I found it quite a challenge. Many of the functions I was using in the previous release had been changed or were "hidden" from me.
What I didn't understand at the time was that revamp was driven by Microsft research showing that many of the feautures customers wanted actually already existed in MS Office. As a result the design team decided to emphasise discoverability through the introduction of the ribbon.
This may have been a fantastic leap forward for new users, but I had a certain way of using the program that I was happy with. I did not have the time to learn new things.
Just ask anyone who uses your website how they would go about finding a specific article. If they know the title or topic, the range of ways they arrive at that article will be very different and may surprise you. Howoever they get there, it is what they do comfortablly. What happens when you change your website?
Impact of updating your website
It is imperative to keep pace with technology and if your website is several years old chances are it will not have great mobile, pad or tablet usabiltiy. Moving to a repsonsive template website is a cost effective way of attracting more "mobile" users.
With your new wbesite, you should also be mindful of how you can support and encourage your existing users to understand and learn about your updated site. Some helpful ways may include:
- article in your website, newsletter or blog
- home page announcement
- in website promotion.
Review your analytics data to understand how visitors reach your website. Examine most frequently used pages so that appropriate links to these pages are included in your article. Employ page redirection as appropriate.