Defining your site structure
Your site structure is a representation of your information architecture. It determines the overall navigation experience in your digital workplace. Getting it wrong generally leads to poor employee adoption and engagement. When a digital workplace is structured correctly, it guides your users between areas of your digital workplace quickly and efficiently.
Our Configuration Specialists leverage two methods for capturing and defining your site structure - site mapping and wireframes. These techniques help your stakeholders visualize the site structure and allow them to provide feedback at an early stage – before any designs or structural work begins.
Site maps are quick, inexpensive ways to visually represent how different pages, solutions, and content will be grouped, what order they’ll appear in, and how they’ll relate to one another. They are essentially high-level diagrams of the overall solution structure – but not necessarily of the navigation structure. Site maps can’t be finalized until after page layouts are defined, which leads us to the next technique.
Wireframes are annotated visual illustrations of page and solution layouts. They communicate solution-level navigation, content types, and functional elements. The annotations are for designers, so they can mock up a visual interface, and for developers, who need to understand the page features and how they’re supposed to work. Paper-based wireframes can be a good starting point, but digital versions are often better for collaboration. Once a wireframe starts to have interactive elements – such as clickable navigation – it crosses the line into a prototype, which allows you to test the main areas of your digital workplace before implementation begins.
Mapping your content
Once you have created a site structure, it's time to map your content. Our Configuration Specialists work with you to inventory and categorize your digital workplace content. During this mapping exercise, our experts will help you define:
- Specific content themes
- Different content types
- An information taxonomy (e.g. naming conventions, tag groups)
- Owners of content
- A keep vs. archive list of content
- New content types
- Content locations
Building your site structure and navigation
Now that you have created a site structure and content map, it's time for our Configuration Specialists to build your site. The Igloo platform provides five key tools which our Configuration Specialists use to build your digital workplace site structure, including:
- Primary navigation
- Secondary navigation
- User bar
Primary navigation is located at the top of your digital workplace. It displays all the root level navigational items in the Site Manager (unless hidden) set up by our Configuration Specialists. Primary navigation is a vital component of the visual design as it moves users throughout your digital workplace quickly and efficiently. Primary navigation also reflects the structure of your digital workplace, helping guide users to key locations, conversations and content.
Secondary navigation supports primary navigation. Our Configuration Specialists set up any additional secondary navigation during the implementation process outlined in your visual design. These can include items such as:
- Enabling secondary drop-down navigation in specific areas of the site
- Adding the navigation widget to pages
- Adding the link widget to pages
- Setting up CTA widgets to pages (e.g. call to action)
- Configuring a special header and footer on solutions for improved navigation
Note: all navigational items are controlled by permissions
The User Bar provides quick access to variety of key elements in your digital workplace. It stays at the top of the site, regardless of where a user is in the digital workplace. Our Configuration Specialists work with you to set up and configure specific options in the User Bar which will assist with overall navigation of your site.
The most popular configuration is setting up bookmarks which are important to all users in your digital workplace.
Breadcrumbs are a very useful secondary navigational item in your digital workplace. They appear automatically above the title in areas of the digital workplace and show a map of your navigation path making it easy for someone to identify where they are in a workplace and how they got there. They also provide an easy way to navigate back to previously visited parent pages by providing convenient links to the areas that appear in your breadcrumbs.
There is no configuration required by our Configuration Specialists for breadcrumbs. But, to improve navigation, it is recommended that you create a naming taxonomy or convention for all digital workplace content (e.g. pages, channels, and content types).
The Footer is located at the bottom of every page of your digital workplace. Our Configuration Specialists customize the Footer as per the visual design. It is a great way to provide links not only to secondary areas in your digital workplace, but also to other resources.
| Playbook Tip: Building your site structure|
- Structure comes first – make it sustainable by allowing room for growth over time
- Open and interactive. NOT closed and static
- Strike a balance with a structure that’s not too shallow and not too deep
- Choose a task-based approach to maximize employee learning and adoption
- Consider all types of content (e.g. not just text, but photos, videos, slideshows)
- Simplify tagging and labeling – don’t try to reinvent the wheel
- Create fresh content and archive the old
- Make important content highly visible
- Keep design spare and clean so users can absorb your well-organized content
- Ensure clear and persistent navigation across the entire destination