Maybe because like all of us I am overwhelmed with information, I’ve been paying a lot of attention lately to how website navigation is designed in our economic development world. One theory is that the overall structure should be based on “factors” like workforce, sites, utilities, etc. if your site is for users exploring your area to help them make an investment decision. I’m not sure that this “topical” structure is ideal – I’m more in favor of a “user” structure, but I can see the merits in both.
When it comes to talent and career portals, thought, I lean heavily in favor of the “user” structure. Here your theoretical user, or the one you most want to influence if not impress, is likely to be an individual. Actually it’s likely to be many kinds of individuals. That’s why I particularly like the kind of structure that Jacksonville, Florida has chosen for their earnup.org web site – one that centers on “I am . . .” or “I need . . .” options for navigation. If you have a problem organizing your information for high-schoolers, parents, college students, adult learners, etc., it may be highlighting gaps in your service offerings or at least in your available information.
And by the way, the earnup.org site is, of course, quite content rich as well, which is absolutely necessary as a baseline. I just think that they are a good example of going beyond what is necessary and designing with a “customer” journey in mind. The customers will no doubt appreciate it.