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federal-prison-consultants asked ·

Federal Prison Consultant Website Digital Architecture

I operate the website Federal Prison Consultants. We are developing pages that profile every federal prison in the country. I'm trying to figure the best way to structure this from a digital architecture standpoint. The issue is that the current site structure seems to be too deep (i.e., too many pages away from the homepage. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Here is the top page of our federal prison directory project so you can see where we're starting.

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A couple questions to help get started:

  • How many total prisons do you expect to list? (Right now I see roughly 170)

  • Are users likely to search through the list based on location, by name, possibly both, something else?

  • Are there other criteria that may be important? (Correctional institution vs medical center?)

  • Can you move the list selection so that the user can interact with it before scrolling down the page? (Above the book link?)

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MarileeTurscak avatar image
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MarileeTurscak answered ·

This sort of general advice isn't really supported here and is more of a question for a UI and UX expert, but what sort of improvement were you looking for?

I personally think the map format is pretty useful, though maybe an alphabetical directory with a search bar would make it easier to find a particular prison by name.

I'm tagging @kbullock in this in case he has insights, as he's good at these sorts of design questions.

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kobulloc-MSFT answered ·

Navigating through a long list has multiple approaches depending on what your content is and how your users will interact with that content. For Azure, we group the Marketplace by Category (AI, Analytics, etc.), sub category (Bot Services, Cognitive), and then popularity (Web App Bot, Bot Channels) however the country selection drop down is usually listed alphabetically (perhaps starting with the most popular set of countries or the user's country). Both lists would have roughly a similar number of elements but are approached very differently.

For the site you linked it currently takes 3 clicks to get to any item in the directory, however the directory is the 6th (of 8) items in the nav bar (lower priority) and requires the user to scroll down before they can interact with the links you provide. The tabs work well enough if your list doesn't grow and location is important, but the location sorting theme doesn't continue in the list for each region. I might consolidate some of the sales information to make overall navigation easier but that's likely more of a business decision.

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