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Can anyone provide some insight in to the best way to configure the file
structure of a web site? ....
I don't think that there has been any clear answer and I think a lot of it
comes down to personal perference. When I build a site, I look at the
content that is already there and then look to see how it is grouped. For
instance on the site I'm webmaster for, originally we had three different
areas that offered various kinds of support (online and off). All of these
areas were moved into one directory called PCOSupport because the
information provided was serving one basic purpose -- offering support.
Is there an industry standard (if it's like anything else in our business, I
highly doubt it) or guide to best performance? Suggested reading, web sites
or other reference material appreciated.
Geoff Hart Responded to Barbara with:
Unless your audience and information are both identical to the one
on which some hypothetical standard is based, it's unlikely that
you'll find any published solution that is much use. Audience
analysis and usability testing of your assumptions based on that
analysis are the only sure way to develop a good solution.
to which I respond with:
I think Audience analysis is a crucial point. It not only lets you see the
information you already have in the directory, it also lets you see where
the gaps are.
Geoff gives several guidelines and I'll add one of my own.
Use height and width tags on any images. It allows the browser to
figure out the area of the graphic and leave space for it. This function
allows the text to display while the graphic downloads. This allows your
users to see if they are in right place.
I think Siegel (he of the "Killer Web Sites" fame) suggested the first
"standardized" structure. It was very simplistic: home page at the root
level of the site, all the HTML files in a directory called "HTML" and all
the images and similar add-ins in the "ASSETS" directory....The drawback to
this is that on a large site, maintenance can be a nightmare, it's very
difficult to visualize the relationship between the files.
But there's a benefit to this as well: you may decide afteryou're into the
project that your original navigation structure just won't cutit, and you
need to rebuild it.
My experience has been it helps to know the relationship between files. I
have a couple of areas on my site right now that have become the proverbial
nightmare to maintain. All the information and images are lumped together
into two directories and I have to scroll forever to get through everything
if I am uploading etc.
Arlen also writes OTOH, if your physical structure is tied to
thenavigational structure, then you'll have to move a lot of files around
and change a lot of links.
This is exactly why I haven't altered the structure at this point in time. I
don't want to fuss with moving a lot of HTML and image files to another