What We Talk About When We Talk About Navigation

I had the great pleasure of giving a talk at the Information Architecture Conference (the new incarnation of the venerable & beloved “IA Summit”) in March of 2019.

A few key quotes from the talk, to give you the gist:

  • Navigation is not the menu on a screen. Navigation is what people do.
  • I think it’s past time we correct the way we, as professionals, talk about “navigation” in our work… because it’s only going to be more and more important that we not reduce it this way. 
  • Over time we’ve come to conflate “navigation” — as in the act of navigating — with the menu systems on websites and applications. 
  • The (whole designed eco-) system is an environment… and it needs to be navigable. 
  • Understanding isn’t an abstract state of being — it’s work. It’s a human body figuring out what to do moment by moment in the entire world it’s living in.
  • When we put new things into the world, we’re asking people to navigate not just those things, but the world we changed with those things. 
  • People don’t start navigating because we put a screen in front of them, or a product or a service in front of them. 
  • People are already navigating, every moment of every day, trying to meet their needs with the resources they can find and understand. 

I recommend you view in Speakerdeck or download the PDF. (Also embedded below from Slideshare.)




Author: Andrew Hinton

I use information to architect better places for humans. More at andrewhinton.com.