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Discussion Article: Information Structures

Throughout these website pages and our articles, we have stressed the importance of understanding and defining the characteristics and needs of the target audience. The information we provide must address these needs, not just factually, but also in relevance and appeal. That means categorizing and structuring this information accordingly. How best to present it will (or should) vary considerably from one user group to another.

Degrees of information- relevance

Professionals in many business categories may require very little general background on the category itself, but probably for effective communication will need to see a comprehensive introduction to the supplier and/or the brands offered. It will not be smart to assume that awareness of any particular supplier or brand is a “given.” This is a frequent mistake made by content providers. How brand (a) differs from brand (b) and others needs to be explained briefly. More extensive information should be addressed at the next stage.

Even more important for categories where the user may just “not know what they don’t know,” the broader introduction to the supplier/marketer may make all the difference to if and how long the visitor remains on the site. Some meaningful reason to remain should be provided; right there at the top of the home page. Selecting a separate page headed “about us” is asking too much of a site visitor who is not immediately provided with a reason to proceed.

The same applies to detailed product/service information. Although this is important, the visitor first needs encouragement to look for it having recognised the value of the source. Communicating this “value proposition” is a fundamental objective of effective content.

The “drill down” principle

This term means the visitor can move intuitively from the general to the particular. The menu structure can be extensive or in drop-down form. The example here combines a fairly detailed menu, yet many of the pages selected offer more options to drill down to more specific information

ften, visual representations of various categories/product groups may be as, if not more effective. Regardless, it must be simple, logical and seamless. As with the previous example, once a selection has been made the relevant page offers more drill-down options

visual category selection

The following example shows the options to drill down to specific information about “materials” in this case.

drilldown example

Implication for content management

We hope to have demonstrated that developing effective content is not just a function of writing skills, or even knowledge of the marketer’s products and services.

This article has been produced by the lead-writer at contentwizards.com.au. Please contact us for a free initial discussion about your particular category and communication objectives.

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