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Navigation Elements

In the standard WCMS U of S templates there are several navigation elements. These are:

What appears in your navigation elements is based on your information architecture. Site diagrams are useful when planning your website as they graphically represent your web content. The site diagram can be used to understand how files are organized into sections (folders), similar to how a table of contents organizes a book into chapters. It serves as a representation of how your content is organized, and it serves as the guide for your navigation (menu) scheme. Section Names and page names become part of the web address (URL) for your website.

A hierarchical structure is necessary for organizing a website. Beginning with a general overview (the home page), visitors expect that they can drill down to specific sub-sections, and content pages. However, they also expect to be able to start at any page in your website and understand immediately how the site is organized. By grouping your information into a few general sections, like chapters in a book, and that become increasingly focused as you move deeper in the site, will help you develop a logical progression of content. While it may seem logical to group buckets of information that correspond to your organizational structure (think org chart) this can be frustrating and cause confusion for your site visitors.

Primary (Global) Navigation – Top Menu Bar

The top menu bar/global navigation displays the main sections of the site. The global navigation is positioned in a black, horizontal bar across the top of the site (just below the site name). Global navigation is accessible from all pages of the site. Given space constraints the global navigation can accommodate around six top-level sections depending on the lengths of the section names. If a site has more than six top-level sections then a reorganization of the site's structure may be required.

Primary (Global) Sub-navigation – Top Level Section Folders/Pull-Down Menu Items

Sections are used to help organize webpages that have related content so that it is easier to find information on a particular topic. Sections should be used when setting up your site’s main areas that appear in the top menu bar as this will ensure you can add more pages and sections to the top menu sections in the future. You can also use sections within sections to organize related information about a sub topic. Sections are represented by folders and each section requires a webpage named “index” that tells the web browsers where to start.

Secondary Navigation – Context Navigation in Right-Side Menu

The right-side menu/context-navigation menu changes as you travel through a site and only shows the information related to the topic you selected (instead of static nested menus that expand as you navigate). The context navigation is located in the right-hand column of the U of S templates. This type of navigation is particularly useful for multi-level, more complex sites as it helps web visitors move forward in completing their tasks by focusing the navigation on related information.

Tertiary Navigation Located in the Header

The header of the site appears above the site name. It includes the University of Saskatchewan logo, a link to PAWS and a search box by default. You can also choose to add up to three links to other webpages within your site or elsewhere at the U of S, such as a link to the U of S map for your location, your contacts page or related sites. These links are typically used for less important tasks visitors to your site might have, as more important tasks would be included in your top menu bar.

Breadcrumb Navigation – Located below the Top Menu Bar

Breadcrumb navigation complements context navigation as it displays the drill-down path for the sections of your site as you travel to deeper sections in the site. Breadcrumbs let you travel back to higher levels of the site with ease from a page in sub sections of a site by creating links to upper-level pages; the current page will appear as a breadcrumb but won’t be a link. Breadcrumb navigation appears just below the black horizontal bar where the global navigation is located.

Footer Links Navigation – Located in the Footer

The footer appears at the bottom of the page. It includes the university logo, a link to the U of S website disclaimer, and the U of S website privacy statement. You can choose to add up to five links to other webpages within your site, such as your contacts page or site map, or elsewhere at the U of S, You can also choose to add up to seven links to social media sites. The webpage links appear between the university logo and the Disclaimer and Privacy links. The social media will appear as icons in the bottom right corner of the footer.

Naviation Elements

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