Basic Organizational Principles

Chris and I know organizational charts well. (Maybe even too well…) The challenge we have in bringing that level of organization to websites is twofold:

  1. Most users probably don’t know what your organizational chart looks like.
  2. Most users probably don’t care to find out.

This presents a problem from a web design standpoint. For example, the fact that Planning and Zoning deals with contractor licensing doesn’t necessarily help the person who’s just trying to find out what it takes to get a contractor’s license. In other words, the challenge we have is to get what the user is really driving at – the relevant content – to them as painlessly as possible. A lot of sites today drill down through the org chart, delivering content along the way. Our goal is to deliver the content up front, and then direct the user to the appropriate body on the org chart.

At GovDesign, we typically use a fairly sparse “Departments” section on every site to showcase the org chart: show each department, provide a description of its mission, services, and staff, some contact info, etc. However, each site’s overall goal is to get information to users as quickly as possible, which is why each department’s page may or may not be as content rich as you’d expect.

You’ll see it right out front, on the main page, instead.

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