Navigation and structure

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

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

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 visitor might be looking for, and how they might try to find it.

Navigation

It helps websit visitors 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 visitor with choices. You should aim then, to reserve your navigation for items that help the majority of your visitors to complete their top tasks.
  • uses short text length for navigation labels

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

Visitors 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.