Jannuary 31, 2012
Figure 1: Content Organized in Accordions
better user experiences. For example, instead of having to scroll through long pages of text to find what they’re looking for, users can quickly scan topics organized by tabs or accordions (see Figure 1). Drop-down menus can be used to easily connect users to deep content with just one click; while lightboxes can be used to display images, slideshows or videos without taking the user away from the page visited.
Figure 2: Organizing Content with Tabs
1) Plan Carefully:
Figure 3: Slideshow in Lightbox
2) Develop Strategically:
Making AJAX applications visible to Google.
But what if you want to use AJAX to create a more software-like experience? Historically, AJAX applications have been difficult for search engines to process because AJAX content is produced dynamically by the browser and thus not visible to crawlers. Thankfully, Google has provided procedures for making AJAX visible to its crawlers, which involves creating an HTML snapshot the crawler can see.
To learn more about how to do this, visit http://code.google.com/web/ajaxcrawling/
Let’s say you’re a window manufacturer and you have an online tool that calculates the energy savings one might realize if they replaced their old windows with new energy-efficient windows. Because the application is quite robust, the data that drives it is too extensive to include in the actual page source, which means search engines will likely not be able to index it. But since this is an important marketing tool, you want to drive search traffic to the page. The way around this issue is to build marketing content in areas on the page that lives outside of the application. This might be a right column area, a callout box or a header of some sort.
Delivering optimal search results and user experiences.
As user experiences get richer, it becomes more complicated for developers to account for how search engines will look at and find the data, making it even more critical that IA and UX professionals work closely with front-end developers early in the process. Such communication enables developers to understand what the user experience should be and determine the best coding approach to deliver both optimal search results and end user experiences.