How to Use Organization Schemes To Improve Website Usability

Organization schemes may make sense to one person but not necessarily fill in the dots of another person; this adds a layer of intricacy when it comes to content organization. Basically, an organization scheme has to do with how one is going to categorize his or her content in various ways so that he or she can create relevant relationship between these pieces of information. Because of all these factors, there are several aspects of information architecture that have to be considered when organizing any content. These factors include; the heterogeneity, its ambiguity- what actually the word refer to, background politics that was involved when the information was being organized and difference in users’ & organizers’ perspectives.

Through different schemes, content can be categorized into different ways when improving website usability. These schemes are divided into two: exact organization and subjective organization. Depending on the information which is being organized, both schemes can be combined for better setup rather than being used independently.

How to Use Organization Schemes To Improve Website Usability

Types of Organization Schemes

1. Exact organization

An exact scheme specifically divides information into several mutual exclusives sections. This is that simplest of the two schemes and it is very easy for information architectures to create and categorize complex information within it. With all these advantages, exact scheme also has its short comings, this scheme can be challenging for its user because it requires its users to be well adept with what they are looking for and how it fits in the model, else it becomes very difficult to use the scheme.

The following are examples of exact organization scheme:

A. Chronological scheme

This scheme involves organizing content according to the date information was last modified. For this kind of scheme to be successful, there has to be a define agreement on when the exact organized content took place for easier organization. A well chronologically arranged content makes it easy for different users to access information thus increases website usability.

B. Alphabetical scheme

This scheme makes use of the twenty six letters of the alphabet to organize its information. This scheme is very limited compared to the chronological scheme; therefore, its success depends mainly on matching different labels of the content organized and the letter labels the user is looking for. Because of its limited categories i.e. only twenty six letter of alphabet are used, this scheme is usually used alongside other scheme as a secondary navigation component so as to accelerate the rate with which content can be traced. Otherwise, Alphabet organization scheme offers a well define search for content compared to the chronological scheme.

C. Geographical scheme

Geographical scheme organizes content according to the origin of the content. Of the three schemes, this scheme is the easiest of all because if there are no issues of border disputes, the scheme is pretty straight forward for its designers and users. Website usability can be greatly increased if the geographic organization scheme is used.

In summary, exact organization scheme is regarded as the best supplementary way to navigate an already organized website. It is not advisable only to use exact organization scheme if you intend to increase the website usability. For instance, a map is used provide one specific information after it has been grouped into different categories, or alternatively use A to Z index to navigate to a specific topic that was primarily grouped by a subjective scheme.

2. Subjective organization

Subjective scheme categorizes content in a way that is only defined or specific to the organization or a certain field. This organization scheme is more defined to its specific field or certain website than exact schemes. Although, subjective scheme are very difficult to design they are very useful when it comes increasing website usability because they can be used on their own unlike exact organization schemes.

Subjective scheme’s information architects take time when considering the user’s mental model and grouping content in significant way, making the scheme more effective when it comes to producing conversions. This kind of categorization used by the subjective scheme is very helpful because, apart from increasing the website usability, it helps facilitate learning by helping users to understand or draw connection that exists between pieces of the content available.

The following are examples of subjective organization scheme

A. Topic Scheme

This scheme organizes content according to their subject matter and groups them in different categories. It is very easy to get several content that share same topic, this increases website usability.

B. Task scheme

Task scheme organizes content according to the actions, needs, questions, or process the user brings a specific content. For users who are interested with the actions defined content, this is the easiest way to go about it.

C. Audience scheme

It organizes information according to its users. This scheme can be open or closed, since user are only allowed to navigate from one audience to another when looking for information. Audience scheme gives minimal challenges to its user unless information lends itself to a user, hence not fitting profile of multiple uses.

D. Metaphor scheme

This scheme has the highest website usability ratio compared to all other schemes. It relates content with similar concepts for its users. Metaphor scheme is used in interface designs but is usually not recommended for a primarily organization scheme.

At times, more than one scheme is employed to increase website usability. For instance; chronological scheme may be used alongside alphabetical organization scheme. When this type of arrangement is used, it is usually known as hybrid scheme.

Although, implementing organization schemes independently has its specific advantages like it is quite simple for users to understand, independent schemes are rather slow and does not offer high website usability, hence hybrid steps in.

The major problem with mixing schemes is the potential confusion which can be created when users are using the scheme. Hybrid organization schemes are only recommended when an agreement on a single scheme can not be reached when content is being categorized or a faster content usability is demanded by users.



Jessica Miller
Jessica is the Lead Author & Editor of UsabilityLab Blog. Jessica writes for the UsabilityLab blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to usability.
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