Alphabetical navigation is meaningless

Organising web content alphabetically is such an arbitrary way to do it. It is akin to random order.

As Jared Spool says:

Alphabetization is a lazy designer’s out — it tells me that the design team isn’t interested in finding out what users are really doing on the site.

Here’s an interesting debate between Jared and some defenders of alphabetical organisation.

Your job as an editor is to make sense of the information for the reader, to effectively ‘de-randomise’, to group the mass of site information and prioritise.

The Next Woman

OK, an example of a site where they order their navigation alphabetically is The Next Woman.

The Next Woman screen grab

The Next Woman screen grab

Look at the top right navigation scheme. They haven’t prioritised or grouped the sections. Some are obviously editorial sections – Simone’s List and Female Hero of the month. But some are admin areas – Subscribe, Contact, About. Mixing them up feels wrong. For an online mag for female internet heros they need to find an information architect or editor who understands the web for credibility sake.