How to Categorize Website Quick Links

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3 minutes
Parent and child using a laptop.

When working with quick links it's worthwhile defining your approach to what gets featured. This should also include a review and upkeep process.

Common approaches to organizing quick links are by audience expectation, user tasks, and behaviour. 

Audience Expectation

One of the great challenges for websites with a wide audience is task overlap and lost context. For example, resident and business users both want to pay for services online, but have different requirements. So a generic 'Pay online' button creates uncertainty and may not meet user expectations.

When organizing by the audience you provide high-level context that improves the easy of use. Users are able to access relevant pages with confidence and focus.

Make sure the website layout defines the audience category in a distinct manner and avoid mixing 'overlap' links. Give prominence to your largest audience and avoid creating more than 3 categories.

Content Category

We often see quick links organized based on the content itself and how it can best be organized. However, it is important to not just categorize them in terms of your organizational structure (e.g., a quick link for each department) as your users often won't think in that manner. For sites with a homogenous audience, categorizing common tasks in a meaningful way (Apply, Report, Register, Pay, Inquire) could be more beneficial for your users.

User Behaviour

Maintaining quick links by featuring sought-after and popular pages satisfies website-building best practices. Some pages' importance change depending on the time of year and current happenings. Use quicklinks to highlight pages without changing the sitemap structure.

You can use website traffic analytics to better decide what pages should be included as quick links on your homepage. Make sure to not only rely on analytics, 'most visited' does not equal 'most sought after' page. Ensure to create channels to share or gather insight on frequently requested pages.

Best Practices

There is no 'one to rule them all' way to display quick links, as they need to follow user needs - which are not static. Quicklinks are flexible and easy to adjust, allowing you to adapt to your users.

Help your users complete common actions by following these best practices:

  • Don't overload your homepage with too many paths, the strength of quick links is ‘focused and easy to scan’. We recommend not displaying more than 8 quick links on a page.
  • Follow trends. choose pages based on user needs and importance.
  • Don’t duplicate. Quicklinks should not use as a ‘mini menu replica’. Quicklinks shine when featuring relevant pages that exist across various sections or are hard to find. 
  • Keep quick link call to action concise and specific, they do not need to share the page name.