Wide vs. Deep Web Sites

Wide versus deep Web sites. Which is the better design option?

It is usually better to create a wide Web site than a deep one. A wide Web site is a site that pushes as much content as possible as close to the top level - home page - as possible.

All of the second level content is presented on the first level home page. Third level content is presented on second level pages. This minimizes the number of clicks that a user has to make to find the desired information.

This is assuming you don't have hundreds, or even thousands, of categories of information, such as the Yahoo! directory.

In this instance, it would be virtually impossible to use a wide layout, since you wouldn't be able to present all the second level content in the first level home page. In this case a deep layout is the best option.

Minimize Instructions

Your Web site should be easy-to-use and require minimal instructions.

People usually dislike and can't be bothered to read instructions. They like to wander through things. When instructions are absolutely necessary, use the minimum number of words to get the message across.

Warn Users About File Sizes

Improve the user-friendliness of your site by informing users of the size of files they are about to download. Common large files are images, software, PDFs, sound and video clips.

It's also a good idea to include the projected download time for a standard 56kbps Internet connection.

For example:

XYZ PDF file is 500k in size and will take about two minutes to download on a 56kbps per second connection.

Business Information

Make sure you include your business information at the bottom of every page on your Web site.

The information should include your:

  • Business or company name
  • Full address, including country
  • Telephone and fax number
  • Email address(es)
  • Web site address, if it's not already displayed at the top of each page

When your users print out your site's Web pages and refer back to it weeks, or even months, later, they will know exactly where they got the information from.