Navigation and structure

The objective of navigation is to get site visitors where they want to be quickly while keeping them interested and engaged.

The purpose of any site is to present information in a way that best suits the user.

Organising your website to reflect your department's structure could create a confusing experience on the web, so resist the temptation to deviate from the normal layout.

Try to consider what a user might be looking for, and how they might try to find it.

Navigation

It helps users if navigation:

  • Uses a standard layout of global, local and supplementary navigation locations (links menus). Our CMS design does this for you.
  • Gives some idea of the amount and type of information contained within the site. To do this, label navigation menu items using clear and tested terminology.
  • Avoids overloading the user with choices. You should aim then, to reserve your navigation for items that help the majority of your users to complete their top tasks.

Routes into information

Distinguish between Hub pages and Basic pages – they serve different purposes and will benefit from different layouts:

  • Hub pages are top-level – they are signposts to information and need to be kept short.
  • Basic pages are low-level content - These can afford to be longer. As the user reaches their intended destination, it is appropriate to offer more information on one page, eg a detailed academic document.

Users will find a site easier to navigate if there is consistency in navigation and structure. If they can predict what will happen when they click on a link, they are reassured and don't feel the need to work hard to use the site.

Get in touch

If you have CMS questions or are stuck then get in touch and we'll do our best to help.