Different Types of Information-Seeking Behaviors (ISB)

Basic Building Blocks of ISB

  • Searching
  • Browsing
  • Asking

Integration and Iteration Behaviors

Integration information systems includes the basic building blocks of ISB.

  • Start with an information need
  • Formulate a query, but the information may change along the way.
  • User browses sites that are related to their topic
  • Information need is fulfilled.

This is a model of an integrated search. Say you wanted to travel to Timbuktu, this could be a way that you research your destination.

Iteration information systems are modeled after the way our brains function.

  • Start with an information need
  • Formulate a query
  • Navigate iteratively through different pieces and pick up pieces of information along the way.

This is a model of an iterated search of the same Timbuktu example.

Web designers want to use the Information-Seeking Behaviors because:

  • It makes the website more user-friendly, potentially making your company money.
  • Helps determine where a designer's efforts and time are needed
  • Helps a company put its resources and money in the right areas of design

major navigation systems

1. Embedded:
♦Infused within the content of the site.
♦Work together to provide context and flexibility.
♦Help users understand where they are and where they can go.

  • Global:
  • Intended to be present on every page throughout the site
  • Most often seen as a navigation bar at top of each page.
  • Allow direct access to key areas and functions.
  • Should almost always be used.
  • Greatly enhances usability.

  • Local:

Complements a site’s global system
Often seen as a sidebar or expansion of the navigation bar
Enable users to explore the immediate area of the site
Should be used to keep categories clear and simple.

  • Contextual:

These are links within the content of page, document or object.
Supports associative learning and defines relationships between items.
Often appear as“See Also,” “Related Articles,” “Similar Items,” etc.
Can be embedded (as inline hypertext) or separated.
Should be used when providing information outside your site content, but that is still related.

2. Supplemental:
♦External to the basic hierarchy of a site
♦Complementary ways of finding content and completing tasks
♦Ensure usability and findability
♦Essential on big sites

  • sitemaps:

presents the top few levels of the information hierarchy
provides a broad view of the content
provides access to segmented portions and direct access to specific pages
most natural for websites that lend themselves to hierarchical organization (big sites)

  • indexes:

web-based index
presents keywords or phrases alphabetically (no hierarchy)
good for key term searches/known-item finding
used on large sites

  • guides:

intended as an introduction for new users and as marketing opportunity for the web site
Examples include
guided tours tutorials,
introduce new users to the content and functionality of a Website

  • search:

central part of supplemental navigation
puts user in driver’s seat
enables specificity

Guidelines for Navigation Control

When creating links and controls of navigation:

  • Navigation should be simple and easy for the viewer.
  • Keep the buttons, menus **and links** consistent.
  • Name your links with obvious titles to describe function and destination.
  • Remember that less is more!

Rules of navigation bars:

  • Buttons or controls for navigations need to have either a check box, circle, text entry list or a drop down list.
  • A hierarchy should be used on the menu drop down list. Identify the main topics and the subtopics in a way that makes the best sense.


  • Use the <ALT> attribute to define replacement text for the image to make sure your users can define navigation, even if their page is missing design elements.
  • Textual labels should always be used in addition to icons to avoid confusion.
  • Consider placement! The global navigation bar is typically along the top and the local navigation bar is normally on the left side.

Conducting Internet research first will help identify how to categorize your content into menu formats. Once you know the needs and likes of your audience, you can determine your message and audience. Have the users tell you what they would expect from the site so that they can best understand it.

The final step of making buttons, links and navigation involves using user testing to make sure all types of people, from all areas can read and understand what you are trying to share with them.


Some deliverables you can expect from a seamless navigation:

  • Better User Reviews: Improved navigation makes for a more user friendly website.
  • Efficiency Boost: When navigation is not an issue, speed and efficiency can thrive.
  • Content maps and inventories: When using these tools it is easier for you and the user to keep track of your inventory and navigate through your site with very little clutter.
  • Controlled vocabularies: A controlled vocabulary is a great way to highlight words for SEO and creates special titles and headings for anyone searching your site.