These act as entrances or ‘shopfronts’ and may play more of a marketing role.
They mostly link to related pages elsewhere.
Mostly they will be working in tandem with the central guide.
They are comprised of a selection of different page types such as:
- Feature page (also used as homepage on feature sites)
- Service department homepage (service departments)
- Content pages
- Navigation page
They will often link to content in the central guide which uses:
Service department sites
These will link to service content within the central guide area. In this way we can separate organisational structure from the services provided.
Organisational information such as people, strategies, visions will still live within a pared down service department site.
These can be created where we need to promote or market a service. These may often be a single page. They may also contain pages that have additional marketing or peripheral information not suitable for the central guide.
Eg Promoted schemes or topics
The central guide
The central guide will play an important role in hosting your student service content. That is content that is task or service focussed.
You'll need to place your guide content for students into the central guide.
The central guide acts as a central repository for all student content. It links back to corresponding service departments and features site. This allows us to separate our services from our organisational structure.
Content is able to be tagged by topics resulting in a task-based information architecture - students do not have to know the organisational structure to find content.
Content is able to be tagged by topics and filtered according to topic, featured site or service department.
These will then link back to your featured or service departments site.
Structuring your content - showcasing and navigating
Choose from the available blocks within your featured site homepage template according to what your content is trying to achieve for the user.
Our generic webpages can be broadly broken down into three areas: showcase, navigation and content.
All three approaches overlap, and have elements in common, but it is still helpful to think of pages in these terms when you're planning your content.
Showcase - drawing them in
These are designed to impress and provide top-level browsing. This is your ‘shop window’. The feature page template allows lots of options for strong visual marketing.
In a site structure top level pages generally tend to be more ‘showcase’ pages used to market broad topics. There tend to be fewer of these.
They tend to be more emotive/aspirational due to higher image/video content. Although these provide lots of visual impact, be aware that using too many can feel overwhelming when you want to get to detail.
Navigation - signposting them on their way
As the content tapers down in specific topics, they are often served well by navigation type pages which help direct user in the flow of their journey to specific information.
You can select from a range of text and lists of links blocks on a feature page to create a stronger navigation.
Content page - providing the goods
Eventually content narrows to the specific detail a user is looking for. Content pages provide the substance of a site and are usually the most often used pages.
If your content is student-focussed service content, it will live in the central guide using a Guide page.
Page types overlap, for example a ‘content’ page may need have ‘showcase’ features. At times navigation page may also serve as a showcase page.
There is no hard and fast rule. Good architecture is about understanding the goals people need to achieve and leading them, in a simple way, to their destination.