Take the 2-minute tour ×
User Experience Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for user experience researchers and experts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I will start by defining the problem I perceive.

The site in question contains three types of content: users; articles; and events, with users being responsible for the creation of articles and events. There are then browsing users who consume content and it is their experience with which I am concerned.

Each of the three types of content is very complex, comprising of several pages and many re-usable elements that may appear in different places and each of the have many similarities.

For example, all types have a text introduction, a set of images, a list of users who are involved in some way (following, attending, subscribing to etc.). They also have some items that may appear but that are optional on an instance by instance basis (like a map location or video). Types then also have some things that are specific to them, so events will have a schedule and users have a list of published articles and a calendar to share events.

Content is also cross linked heavily, so a user page displays articles, other users comment on articles and link to their own pages, or subscribe to an article and in many places the browsing user can jump through to a users page from something the user did on site.

The goal of all this is to provide a rich set of user generated content pages through which the browsing user can navigate via a network like interaction rather than a hierarchical interaction, along with the capability to save things they like through subscribing etc.

It would be possible to re-use a set layout for all types of content, but in this case, with so much definite repeating, other things optionally repeating etc. I fear the browsing user could be left unsure about what type of content they are looking at or where they are and that they could feel confused and lost if presented with an almost monotonously repeating template, even when navigational tactics like bread crumbs, home links and clear headings are used.

At the same time I don't want the experience to feel disjointed.

I state that this is a perceived problem and perhaps it's something that will be solved with strong navigation and a consistent layout (if so, tell me), but I am also interested in whether there are any other things I should consider when laying out these pages?

share|improve this question
add comment

1 Answer

I don't think there's actual conflict between distinguishing types of content visually, and linking them properly. IMO, Facebook is a very good example of the desired UX; even though pages are differentiated heavily, there's a lot of consistence and similarity in between them.

Some pretty general tips from me:

  • Try to follow popular trends when designing typical pages like user, event, etc. This will give a clear idea on what's is being displayed at the moment (so typically user will have a profile photo, event will have a big calendar somewhere near the header, etc.)
  • Explicitly tell users, what are they browsing. So if we have a header telling "Zlatan Ibrahimovic", but in this particular case it's an article about a footballer, not a user profile, mark it with a proper label.
  • Put common elements in the same places sitewide, so the users will know what actions regarding which types/elements can they expect.
  • Mark each type of content with a recognizable icon. Even if there is a strong similarity in between two entries of different type, they will be instantly recognizable. Use this sitewide - every link should have such an icon next to it.
share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.