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Planning a structure

You should plan the organisation for your site (for example, how to divide your content into sections) carefully.

If you plan well, it should be clear (both to you and to users) where each piece of content will be placed.

You can divide content into sections based on users or based on the content itself, or both.

A good plan can cope with additional content.


Sometimes it can be useful to divide content based on the different types of user that you identified.

For example, you might create an entire introductory section of the site, which contains all the content planned specifically for those with little experience of the site topic.

A company site might divide its content into information for customers and for shareholders, since these two groups are likely to want very different things from the site.


Content-based organisation simply means dividing your content into sections based on some properties of the content itself. I used this form of organisation when I planned the different sections for recipes on the cake recipe site.


Make sure that the way you divide content is clear and not arbitrary. You need to understand it, so that you can allocate content to the exact section; but users also need to be able to understand it, so that they can work out where content will be within your site.

Sometimes it can help to consider each type of user from your list, and make sure they will all be able to understand the way you've divided up the content.

Built to last

The structure of your site will not be easy to change, since many other aspects will depend on it. Because of this, it's important to get the structure right first time.

Make sure that your structure is flexible enough to cope with change. For example, try to think of any content that you might like to add to the site after it is finished; would that fit sensibly into your structure?

Your own site

Group exercise

Individually, consider the content of your site. Try to draw up a tree structure for your site, similar to the diagram above. Decide where each piece of content should be placed within the structure.

Once everyone in the group has come up with their sketch diagram, discuss each diagram within the group. Does it divide content based on the obvious properties of that content, or based on different groups of users? Will that organisation make sense to site users?