- Keep with max. 3 Levels Sects/Subsects
(a) The user will be lost quickly where to navigate next. To use
more than 3 levels is only beneficial if it closely matches a
hierarchie already made up with those levels (e.g. FTP view).
For that however it is better to list in the "sitemap" simply
a "directory" to navigate into and use its own sitefile for
the subdirectory. Make it known with a slight variation that
the user has gone to different space - away from frontend
web presentation into a hierarchic download section. Same
applies to moving over to a forum / webchat space.
(b) How do you think you can place all the levels in a single
navigation bar. The recommended way of mksite.sh is to use
horizontal rulers for each "sect1", to use an itemized line
for "sect2" and place below the item more "sect3" nodes
possibly many per line. That's compact enough so the user does
not get lost in the middle. Note that mksite.sh does not
encourage folder-expand/folder-close menu-handling but instead
strongly hints to use a sitefile not changing on every click
thereby making the "next-page" to jump away and up and down.
Otherwise one would need an explicit "next" button somewhere
to help with sequential reading and searching (the usual
"browsing" action takes 3 seconds per page on average).
- Make no more than 8 topic items per section
The human mind can only catch about 7 items at a time with
one look. Going beyond that confuses the human brain and
slows down information gathering (stress). On the other
hand it is usually not interesting to use less than 3
items per section, it would get overlooked quickly among
other sections. Therefore (a) add topic pages to section
as they fit (b) when a section overflows with 8-10 items
then split the section in two with each 3-6 topic items.
- Try numbering for the third-level items
When a topic gets too long it is not a good idea to keep
everything on a single long page that the user has to
scroll down - searching for some interesting subitem.
Instead cut the long page into pieces and register as
its own html page with the sitefile. They all shold be
on the same topic anyway so let's register the page on
the sitefile with a very short hint only, possibly just
use numbers. And if not using number then use common
shorthands such as "intro" "related" "main" "links"
written in <small> letters on the sitefile
If there are too many splitpages then
make the first of its series (the subsection topic item
on level2) a frontpage with a href to each splitpage and
short description of the content of that splitpage
- Use sub-websites if it gets too big
The three levels make enough room for pages - a big website
for mksite.sh would be using 6 sections with an average of
6 topic per section and an average of 3 pages per topic.
That makes more than 100 pages. If a section gets too long
one can also make for multi-column layout (with some
global quicklinks) but do not be tempted to put too much
into such a column.
Instead consider to split the website into multiple spaces
with each its own sitefile. That can be to put them into
directories of the main website (developer, user, etc) and
make a seperate sitefile for the main website that goes to
introduce the purpose of each area and linking into each
area then. The site map will only contain a single entry
per area and otherwise lists the items of the intro website.