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Navigation

The navigation on the submenus and breadcrumbs are dynamically generated, however, there are some procedures you will need to follow in order to make them function correctly as well as maintain the consistency that helps your constituents know how to use your website with ease.

Submenu Strategy

With the exceptions of academic college and department websites, the submenus can be organized without the Digital Media Advisory Committee's (DMAC) approval.

Navigation is limited visually to two tiers:

  1. links directly seen in the navigation and
  2. expandable menus with a second set of links (but no link on the menu name itself).

Architecturally, that is the

  1. main website folder and
  2. the folders and their pages directly underneath it.

Content can be nested in folders within those folders, however, they will not appear in the navigation, so organization of your content is vitally important when designing your entire website.

Keep the navigational verbiage clean, clear and concise. Consider the navigational flow and importance of content. Avoid information overload as this hinders your constituents' abilities to use your website in a reasonable manner.

Appropriate Navigational Link Names

Use the Naming Conventions for Display Names to make your navigational links useful. To make your navigation clean, clear and concise, consider your choice of terminology as that affects your constituents' abilities to comprehend what content will be available on your links.

Creating Two Tier Navigation

If you need to remove the link entirely from your website, view How to Delete a Page from Your Website.

When organizing your content into two tiers, you will need to consider information architecture as well as navigational links. The second tier is made with folders inside your main website folder, so you need to be careful where your content is located. You can create these by going to Cascade's Add Content, selecting Default, selecting Folder, and then providing an appropriate System Name for the folder in the Content section and menu heading for your Display Name in the Metadata section.

The text in the Display Name appears next to the icon that informs your constituents that the menu can expand and collapse. It is not a link to a page in and of itself, so you need to choose your menu heading name versus your navigational link names carefully. This brings up two important pieces of two tiered navigation:

  1. the main index page (homepage) of the website only appears in the site title (with the home icon next to it) of the right hand navigation
  2. the sub index pages, if any exist, have special functionality, so they require specific settings:
    1. Display Name: typically is called "Overview", or something that introduces the second tier contents
    2. Title: typically is the same as the Display Name of the folder (e.g. since you could have multiple "Overview" pages in your website and "Faculty & Staff" is the expanding menu name for this section, the page title should include "Faculty & Staff", along with the website name)
    3. Breadcrumbs Display Name: should override the Display Name for the breadcrumbs (e.g. since "Overview" doesn't make sense in the bread crumbs, use "Faculty & Staff" to identify the index page of this section)
Creating Navigational Flow and Order
Controlling the Navigational Flow

Using Documents in the Navigation

Documents are not allowed to be linked to directly on your navigation, nor are pages primarily created to display that one document link:

  • Expectation: Usability dictates that your constituents should know what to expect any time they try to access something on your website. Your constituents typically expect to access webpages when viewing your submenu navigation, not documents. This can come as a surprise to them because they were not informed they would need to have a particular type of software on their video to view your information, nor may they know how to get back to your website from the document. Plus, documents typically are larger than webpages, so when they need to access your information, your constituents may get upset with the unexpected long load time and give up.
  • Clarification: Documents also typically need an explanation before accessing, such as forms that have a set of instructions. Sometimes these instructions will need to include how to properly submit forms without providing personal information protected in FERPA and HIPAA laws.
  • Categorization: Documents typically are better suited on your website as content within webpages because navigation provides your constituents with a categorization of your information. The information your provide might be better strategically placed on one or more of your webpages instead of a document that has less searchability and give you the opportunity to cross-reference better without the hassle of updating and replacing your files.
  • Mobility: With responsive/squishy design, your constituents have no need to print out the content on your website. Since they can view your information easily on mobile devices your constituents can access your content on the go. For example, make sure your event information is on the online calendar where with the necessary information can be added to their mobile personal calendars for ease of access and timely notifications.

Using Content Outside Your Website in the Navigation

Not all the information your constituents may need will be directly on your website. Sometimes, it will be on another Tarleton website or application, such as our degrees and programs.

Reference Pages
Redirect Pages

Required Navigation on Academic Websites

The DMAC was tasked to make academic college and department websites consistent in navigation, so the below lists are the required sets and order for any such website. However, some options may not be available, depending on the content available. Some are legally required by federal or state law, The Texas A&M University System guidelines, or Provost policy. You are encouraged to provide all areas mentioned below. 

 

  • Degrees & Programs
  • Master Course Syllabi
  • Faculty / Staff
  • Research
  • Student Resources

Areas like the Degrees & Programs and Student Resources are typically not a single page. These may have multiple items underneath them. For example, many departments have multiple listings for degrees, such as a listing for bachelor's and master's degrees. Use a Redirect Page to help you create the Custom Degree Links that show your specific degree and/or program listings.