Originally Posted by Old Pedant
Yes, some sample data would help a lot.
I'm not clear that you need all the tables you are describing, but if you think you do, you probably do. So sample data would help make that clearer.
Sure, I'll post some sample data in a moment.
But first, allow me to *try* and explain my "Information-Architecture" thought-process... (Be gentle, because I spent A LOT of time on this, and feel it is right.)
About a month ago I finished QA'ing my website and was ready to "go live". (All I had left to do was drop in my Data/Content.)
But when I went to go do that, TRAGEDY struck?!
You see, over the last 18-24 months I have been hand-coding my website, my creative side has never slept. And what was supposed to be a modest website with 6 Sections/Navigation tabs had turned into one with 40-50 main topics, plus all of the related ones?!
I had no physical way to cram all of that into my website design. (Plus, I'd lose people if they had to drill down 5 levels to get to everything I came up with as far as content?!)
So I spent 2-3 weeks racking my brain, coming up with lists and lists of things, and drawing everything out on paper.
One KEY PROBLEM I faced was that there were all of these different ways to view things...
For example, is it a Car? Or a Sedan? Or gas-powered? Or American-made? Or red? Or fuel-efficient?
Basically what was supposed to be a *simple* website on Small-Business articles had exploded into something like the "NY Times"...
But eventually, some light-bulbs went off in my head, and I came up with this approach...
1.) Divide my content into 6-8 major "Sections". (These would easily fit into my horizontal navigation tabs.)
2.) Instead of creating 3, 4, 5 levels in my Information Architecture, keep my URL's to 2 levels like this...
Section > SubSection > Article
3.) Instead of creating a really DEEP website, group like things together into a concept called a "Dimension" and spread things out HORIZONTALLY...
4.) When a person clicks on a "Section", they are taken to a "Section Landing Page".
In the main area, is a box with select "Sub-Sections" - each containing links to related Articles. (Dimension = "Featured_<section>")
There would also be a way for the user to click on a "View all <Sub-Section> Articles", and be taken to a "Sub-Section Landing Page" which would provide a listing of Article Summaries related to the chosen "Sub-Section".
5.) In the right margin of the "Section Landing Page", display various boxes of different "Dimensions" containing the related "Sub-Sections".
If a user clicked on one of these secondary or tertiary SubSections, then they would be taken to a "Sub-Section Landing Page" which would provide a listing of Article Summaries related to the chosen "Sub-Section".
6.) This would allow people choosing a "Section" to first and foremost see what I deem to be the most important Articles related to a given Section.
However, it would also allow me to "slice and dice" a Section into many other facets that otherwise would get buried in a DEEP design.
7.) The concept of a "Dimension" exists on the back-end to keep Articles properly organized, and it also exists *subtly* on the website itself.
But as far as the URL and users are concerned, there is only the concept of...
Section > SubSection > Article
Anyways, in the next post, I will give you lots of sample data to help "visualize" things...