Sub Navigation Plea

Discussions of visual designs, content area elements,
interface issues of UNL web templates.

Sub Navigation Plea

Postby mmesarch1 » Fri Aug 18, 2006 9:07 am

HI,
I know at the last web developers meeting that was much discussion on the limit of showing 5 sub navigations sections before the "More..." was invoked, but I would like to show an example where this needs to be reconsidered. Sometimes there are needs to allow more sub navigation levels without the "More..." being invoked.

If you go to the website http://snr.unl.edu/cbas (I know its the old templates) and hover over Research Specialities You will see that we have 10 specialities. If we use the NEW template 5 of these where be hidden from view until the user presses "More..." My faculty do not think this is acceptable.

With the current design you are asking the planners/designers to choose which are the 5 most important specialities leaving the other 5 partially invisible. This can also be said for departments that list their degrees as a sub navigation; which degrees do they determine as "Second class"?

In most cases we have been able to come to an understanding that alphabetical is acceptable for organization. But limited to 5 sub navigation levels makes this organization biased.

I propose that there be a switch on the template that will allow for the "More..." to be turned off completely in certain cases. Make it standard that it has to turned off, so it is extra work, but at least make it an option.

There are just some cases where five is not enough.

mark
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Postby mmesarch1 » Fri Aug 18, 2006 9:10 am

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Termination of Sub Navigation after 5 links.

Postby dsockrider » Wed Oct 11, 2006 11:36 pm

While I understand how important it is to keep consistency across a website to build your brand recognition and portray a unified appearance, I also understand how important it is to have good logical reasons for design decisions. It's very important to have a website that has intuitive navigation that makes it easy for the viewer to find the information they need.

The left side main navigation is an html-unordered list that I assume is coded with the 'Wrap' tag that is intended for continuous flow of multiple columns of text. The wrapping, sequential, sub-navigation is then terminated after 5 sub links with an elipse (...) I assume the compact tag is used, which is intended for overflowing columns of text. This doesn't allow anyone to have more than 5 sub navigation links to be visible on page load.


The CSS coding and our current standards don't allow developers to use a vertical list or more than 5 links as sub-navigation without elipses.


Maybe someone else can explain why we have sequential, wrapping, terminating sub-navigation and can communicate the benefit of limiting sub-nav links at 5 and the benefits of having an unordered list rewired into a wrapping sequence of links?

If I had my choice I'd use an unlimited vertical list as sub-navigation that is displayed on a rollover or on a click. I don't believe sequential, wrapping sub-navigation is easy to scan with your eyes and limiting sub-nav at 5 links is a negative thing. This 'feature' results in requiring the website structure to accommodate the design and not have the design accommodate the organization. Having all the sub-nav displayed whether you need that sub-nav or not, can result in visual information overload with links continuing off the bottom of page.

My solution for these issues has to just not use any sub-nav links in the left side nav. I just use the main categories, which is very fast and easy to visually scan, then what would be the sub nav is on the next page in the same area.
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Postby aboucher » Wed Aug 22, 2007 10:18 am

I second the motion to lift the 5 sub-links limitation.

The five sub links limitation leads to HIDDEN topics.

An average user must click on <More> in hope that the desired topic might be one that will appear in the expanded list, instead of the list being fully populated from the go.

This way of doing business is user unfriendly and counterproductive, to say the least.

Most users won't see and/or click on the <more> button and will give up their search too easily, and that is bad.

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Postby saltybeagle » Thu Aug 23, 2007 2:35 pm

I think the sublink limitation forces developers to re-think long navigation into meaningful subcategories rather than provide a one-click access link farm with no thought to their navigation.

The navigation system is intended to provide a summary of the most important information within that area, limited to 7 sublinks for visual consistency, with no/limited vertical scrolling for the primary navigation, and concise choices for the user.

I would re-arrange your navigation to provide direct access to the topmost 6 subsections using your site's statistics --- then a See All link to a page with the entire list.

Perhaps some others here would have some suggestions for categorizing your information in the best interest of your users.
Brett Bieber
Image
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Postby nhummel » Mon Aug 27, 2007 10:00 pm

saltybeagle wrote:I think the sublink limitation forces developers to re-think long navigation into meaningful subcategories rather than provide a one-click access link farm with no thought to their navigation.


I would tend to agree. Having to re-think about navigation has, I believed, help our department's site.

Looking at your current navigation you currently have:
* Sales Catalog Home
o Catalog Searches,
o Contact Us,
o HTML Code Samples,
o How To Order,
o Prime Vendors,
o Repair Center
* Close-out Items
o Laptop Bargains,
o Game Night at the Ross,
o Digital Cameras,
o Ethernet Bundles
* Cabling
o Desktops,
o Gaming,
o Handhelds,
o Ink Cartridges,
o Ink Toners,
o Input Devices,
o iPods and Accessories,
o Laptops,
o Memory,
o Miscellaneous,
o Monitors,
o Multimedia,
o Networking,
o Print Devices and Acc.,
o Scanning,
o Software Licenses,
o Software Windows,
o Software MAC/UNIX,
o Storage

I guess I'm slow, but I fail to see how all the things under "Cabling" belong there.

I'd suggest something that is broken down into major catagories:

*Sales Catalog Home
o Searches the Catalog,
o Contact Us,
o How To Order,
o Prime Vendors,

*Resources
o Repair Center
o HTML Code Samples,

*Computers
o Desktops,
o Laptops,
o Monitors,
o Memory,
o Handhelds,

*Accessories
o Memory,
o Cables,
o Input Devices,
o Storage
o Networking,
o Miscellaneous,

*Printing & Scanning
o Print Devices and Accessories,
o Scanning,
o Ink Cartridges,
o Ink Toners,

*Toys
o iPods and Accessories,
o Multimedia,
o Gaming,
o Game Night at the Ross,

*Software
o Software Licenses,
o Software Windows,
o Software MAC/UNIX,

*Close-out Items
o Laptop Bargains,
o Digital Cameras,
o Ethernet Bundles
Ned W. Hummel
Department of Mathematics
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