Website structure

Linear

The simplest website structure is linear navigation. In this structure each page is simply linked to the one before. This only really works if the website has very few pages.

Diagram showing left to right, linear navigation structure

If the website has more pages, it is likely a multi-level structure is needed. There are three main multilevel structures. They are:

  • Hierarchical
  • Web
  • Composite

Hierarchical

A hierarchical navigation structure is tree-like in its nature. The home page is at the top. Underneath it breaks into categories which can be further broken into different sub-categories.

There will usually be a link back to the home page on every page below it.

Diagram showing multi-layered, hierarchical web structure

Web

The web navigation structure allows users to follow their own information flow - it may be unique to each user who will use the application.

To facilitate this, there needs to be a large number of links between individual pages. This limits its usefulness with larger sites containing more pages.

webnavigation1

Composite

A composite navigation structure integrates various aspects of other structures and is the least limiting. It can be part linear and part hierarchical, and is particularly useful where the multimedia product has a lot of topics and sub-topics.

Users may navigate in a free manner (web), but pages are linked in a hierarchical or linear fashion for parts of the website.

Composite navigation structure combining web and hierarchical structure.