Tutorial: Planning Navigation Menus
*Only WordPress Administrators can edit/create navigation menus. Academic and Non-Academic departments should contact the Web Content Team (firstname.lastname@example.org) to edit their menus.
Imagine trying to find a recipe in a cookbook with no Table of Contents or Index – you’d quickly get frustrated. There’s a similar situation with your web pages. No matter how good your content, users will lose patience if they cannot easily navigate through that content. Well-organized navigation sets are the backbone of your web pages.
With limited exception, University navigation must appear on every page. Sites will then have their own navigation menus. This may be a sidebar or additional navigation across the top of the page.
When planning a navigation set, you may want to browse through your pages and write down the titles of the pages you want to include in the navigation set. Then you can organize them topically into smaller sub-sets and choose a short, descriptive title for the sub-set. (The sub-set title does not get linked; it is just a description of the sub-set.) Keep in mind as you plan that in general, people can process 6-8 items in a list before the list is too long and it becomes difficult to find any one item.
- Finances (sub-set title)
- Financial Aid (link)
- Financial Check-In (link)
- Student Accounts (link)
Dos and Don’ts of Nav Menus
- Navigation sets should only include links to pages that also have that navigation applied to them
- A good test for this is to click through all of the links and make sure they don’t change from page to page
- Link titles should be clear and condensed. As much as possible try to keep the title on one line in order to avoid the link appearing as though it is two separate links.
- Multiple headers and groups of links can be included in the set (see image above), but there should be no more than 7 links (or lines) under each header. This way the links are separated into groups and easy to read.
- Links to resources, such as PDFs or pages from different departments/websites, should be in the body of the page, and not in the navigation.
- The navigation set is meant for users to be able to navigate a particular set of pages, so it is confusing for users when they click on one of the links and then the navigation set disappears.