The reason for choosing a navigation structure is for easy accessibility. Here, the user of your design (website) plays an important role because they determines the type of navigation structure you are going to use. Having in mind that you are not designing for yourself, you must consider the user when choosing a navigation structure.

Types of navigation structure

There are about four types of navigation structure. They are:

  • Linear structure
  • Hierarchical structure
  • Closed web structure
  • Open-ended web structure
  • Linear structure

Linear structure is the simplest form of navigation structure between pages. This structure is important to design interface navigation for novice users. A linear structure helps to keep them on the path to access information. Expert users need access to information quickly; a linear structure will slow them down. A hierarchical or closed-web structure is suitable for expert users. An example of this type of navigation structure is in the steps taken to register on a website installation wizards. A linear structure is implemented using “NEXT” button.

Fig 1.1 Linear structure.

  •                 Hierarchical structure

Hierarchical navigation structure, unlike linear structure which suggest movement in a sequence, is an arrangement of items (objects, names, values, categories, etc.) in which the items are represented as being “above,” “below,” or “at the same level as” one another. This structure is used in many websites where the user, specific goal is to seek a piece of specific information. Users have more choice over where to go and the designer has less control of the order of presentation. A typical example of this structure is the sitemap.

Fig 1.2 Hierarchical structure

  •                 Closed web structure

A closed web structure retains the linkages present in an open web but adds inter-connectivity between some pages. This type of structure gives room for cross-linking and exploration across boundaries. It can make people get in and out of information from a central point, but much cross-linking, can cause users to lose their way.

Fig 1.3 Closed web structure

  • Open-ended web structure

The open web structure is totally different from the previous ones dealt with. Here, the various points are inter-linked in an associative pattern. An open web structure shows the relationship of hot-spot to a homepage. This type of hyper-linking in which all hot-spots are accessed from a singular source is common. It stops users from getting lost but can be tedious to navigate.

Fig 1.4 Open-ended web structure

If this tutorial has contributed to your design career, write to us now info @ipaean.com.ng or leave your comment on the comment box below.

Ikechuchwu Njoku-CEO ipaean

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