I'm looking at a re-structure of an existing site and I have the following situation:

There is a top level menu for example: Home; About; News; Resources; Within Resources there are various categories.

When you click Resources you are presented with: Resources intro text - list of resources - followed by a randomly picked Resource Category. Whenever you then select another Resource the intro text stays and the resource category underneath updates.

Can you think of any design reason for doing this? As it seems to break the expected behaviour. On click of Resource I would either have a Resources landing page followed by a second level menu list or use drop down navigation to allow the user to go directly to the required resource.

  • It literally picks a random resource category when you click Resources in the top level menu every time or the default Resource subcategory appears to be a random choice?
    – Ben Brocka
    Commented Mar 4, 2012 at 17:52

1 Answer 1


No. When it comes to navigation there are several types that can be used. You have the classic hierarchical navigation where you have the top-level followed by child-pages which themselves have child-pages. These can be either narrow and deep or broad and shallow. the narrow and deep kind takes more clicks to get to the right place, but is more easy to follow than the broad and shallow one (less click but harder to manage).

narrow and deep vs broad and shallow navigation in display

Form an other angle you can also have related content navigation, which you often see in an online bookstore. Others who bought this book, also bought these books. For the book store its a way to get more revenue, but in information architecture meening just related content.

However, you can try out your navigation by randomly pick a page in your design structure and see if you have know where you are. You should get leads in the top navigation, side navigation and other navigation types, such as breadcrums or variants there of.

If you take a look at Microsoft Developer Network Library (MSDN) which have have more than 100 000 pages, it still manage to let the user of MSDN to always know where you are (see image and the high lighted area):

Example of navigation in complex environment

To conclude, random is poor design and bad usability, if the reason for random is not clear to the user - such as a game.

Good luck with your new improved information architecture design!

More to read: Navigation Guidelines

  • 1
    Good answer that clarifies what I already thought. Thanks :)
    – Sheff
    Commented Mar 5, 2012 at 14:30
  • One could see that from your question, @Sheff :) - Thanx! Commented Mar 5, 2012 at 18:44

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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