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Rearrange page code to raise text relevance

By MaryWeilage Editor ·
This week's Design and Usability Tactics e-newsletter examines you can rearrange the order of the elements in a typical two-column page layout to raise text relevance.

Do you rearrange page code to raise text relevance? If not, will you after reading this tip? Why or why not?

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Place the navigation on the right

by chris.barnett In reply to Rearrange page code to ra ...

About a year ago I moved the secondary navigation on our intranet to the right of the page, primarily from a usability point of view - raising text relevance was an added bonus. The right navigation has been well received as readers now don't have to 'reach across the page' to access other parts of the site; and pages are ready for print with only the navigation being cut off. If a client had their heart set on the navigation being on the left I'd definitely still code to raise text relevance.

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Effect on visually impared users - Sec 508

by mullento In reply to Rearrange page code to ra ...

This is a good tip, however, if you need to design your webpage so that they can be accessible by visually impaired users (Sec. 508), then this causes another challenge. A user listening with JAWS or IBM Homepage Reader won't hear the navigation until all the main content is read.

Although, since we put a "skip navigation" link (which is invisible to people who can see) that allows the user to jump to the main content, I suppose you could do the reverse and add a "go to navigation" link.

Anyway, that's my two cents.

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Not really

by In reply to Effect on visually impare ...

It's not really a good tip. Your page should always linearize properly (without CSS) and who puts their navigation below the content? Trying to cheat what/how the search engine sees the site will only adversely affect how (at least) a segment of users sees your site, so don't mess with it. If you're already using CSS and doing other bare minimum SEO things like using headings and titles, you will be killing everyone else in the search engine game.

I'd like to know which search engines still have the 10,000 chars or 25K limit anyway, or if that stat was just grabbed from some outdated SE article online. I don't worry about it anymore, because certainly Google and Yahoo seem to spider the entire page contents (Google caches pages too, so it might as well crawl the whole thing)

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linear logic

by kamwe In reply to Not really

I'm not so certain about this. The question: "who puts their navigation below the content?" assumes we are all browsing. In fact, I may have found the page in question through a keyword search and be exactly where (on your site)I want to be -- the content is my primary focus and my interest in the context (i.e. what else is on your site) will only be resolved once I have examined the content I came for.
As for the notion that the techniques described in the article amount to "Trying to cheat what/how the search engine sees": I'm sorry, this is bullshit use of language based on zero data. Search engine characteristics like reading left-to-right and top to bottom derive from english language/Roman alphabet traits, not some ethical imperative. We are not talking about planting a string of irrelevant keywords in invisible text here, but about using technical savvy to take account of "rules" and "conventions" established (or implicitly accepted) by those search engines and then playing within that construct to best advantage.
On one point, I probably agree with dgibson; he questions how much advantage would actually be gained by re-arranging page code and I don't see any hard data. Still, Michael Meadhra's suggestion seems worth testing.

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