[map]A Navigation Pattern from
Patterns for Personal Web Sites

Three Jump Maximum

Sites with poor navigation are unpleasant to visit. It's all too common to visit a site, find a notable page, then be unable to find it on a return visit. This is particularly true of large sites where it takes many jumps to reach a given page. The greater the average number of jumps between pages, the harder a site is to use.

Therefore, keep the path between any two pages of your site to at most three jumps.

A consequence of combining this restriction with One Jump Home is that each page on the site should be no more than two jumps from the home page. Since a visitor can always get to the home page in one jump (One Jump Home), that leaves two jumps to get to any page.

As a site grows, adding Index Pages helps keep it organized, but adds an additional jump. When the site gets large, consider adding a Site Map with links to most or all pages.

The three jump maximum restriction can be relaxed for especially Deep Content or a Secret Garden, but beyond four jumps a site becomes unusable.

Last updated 8 July 2003
All contents ©2002-2003 Mark L. Irons