Too often, magicians structure their website based on the way a magician thinks. This is often out of sync with a client’s needs, causing the magician to lose gigs. Your ideal prospect visits your website to see if you’ll help find solutions to her problems, not to read a self-serving brochure about your business.
Keeping this in mind, your information architecture must be based on the best ways to serve your visitor, based on an intimate understanding of “user logic”.
Site architecture is necessarily a reflection of the website’s intent. For example, the site architecture of Better Magic Sites is fairly complex because our goal here is to teach. On the other hand, if you look at the site architecture of our sister site, Promote or Perish, you’ll find it’s flat. The purpose there is not to teach, but to encourage the visitor to take specific actions.
Your magic site should also be fairly flat because you want every visitor to take an action, to either call you, email you, or book a show directly on the website. You don’t want to give them too many choices, which in turn means you don’t want to give them a lot of menu options. The keyword is Focus.
Later, when we get into Marketing in Act II and Selling in Act III, we’ll discuss other very important reasons why you want to keep your site architecture as flat as possible. For now, however, the important point is to remember that a good architecture is important for usability.
Flyout menus, sometimes called hover menus because they only flyout when the user holds the mouse pointer over them, can very easily become a usability nightmare. Most studies that have been conducted indicate that users just plain don’t like them, in large part because the menus simply haven’t been executed very well.
The menus on Better Magic Sites have been done the right way. People who can’t hover (touch screens don’t know when your finger is hovering over a link) can still click to get to subcategory menu items. And I’ve been very careful that every link within the flyout menu is large enough (see Fitts’s Law).
And, even though I’ve done all I can to make them usable, they still suffer from countless other problems. See this article from uxmovement.com for a list of those problems.
On the other hand, if you look at the menus on Promote or Perish you’ll find that NONE of them are flyout/hover menus. One of the many advantages of a flat site architecture is that navigation becomes much more simple, and much more usable.