A Note on Site structure and mental models


The success of the organization of your web site will be determined largely by how well your site’s information architecture matches your users’ expectations. A logical, consistently named site organization allows users to make successful predictions about where to find things. Consistent methods of organizing and displaying information permit users to extend their knowledge from familiar pages to unfamiliar ones. If you mislead users with a structure that is neither logical nor predictable, or constantly uses different or ambiguous terms to describe site features, users will be frustrated by the difficulties of getting around and understanding what you have to offer. [Site Structure | Web Style Guide 3]



This is not really an accurate dynamic between expectations and site organization. Expectations are created as user works through the site - hence Lynch’s mention if not emphasis on prediction. The call for consistent methods (logics) of organization stresses ease of use that might demand changes in logics.

As a probe into this:

B0rges List

from The Analytical Language of John Wilkins, Jorge Luis Borges,
These ambiguities, redundancies and deficiencies recall those that Dr. Franz Kuhn attributes to a certain Chinese dictionary entitled The Celestial Emporium of Benevolent Knowledge.

In its remote pages it is written that animals can be divided into

(a) those belonging to the Emperor,
(b) those that are embalmed,
(c) those that are tame,
(d) pigs,
(e) sirens,
(f) imaginary animals,
(g) wild dogs,
(h) those included in this classification,
(i) those that are crazy-acting
(j), those that are uncountable
(k) those painted with the finest brush made of camel hair,
(l) miscellaneous,
(m) those which have just broken a vase, and
(n) those which, from a distance, look like flies.


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