Writing for the Web

Planning: Select Navigation Tools for Your Site

Your choice of navigational tools will depend on the size and complexity of your site, your organizational structure, and your knowledge of your readers’ familiarity with the Web. At a minimum, you should provide links to and from related pages. However, there are advantages to providing additional support, including:

Persistent menus—buttons or links that appear in the same place on all of your pages—make it easier for your readers to find their way around your site because they will quickly learn where to find it on each page.

Navigation headers—a line of links running along the top of a page that mirrors the path the reader took to reach the page.

Navigation footers—a set of links running along the bottom of the page.

Nav Header Example

Figure 1: Examples of a Navigation Header and Persistent Menu

Tables of contents—similar to those found in print documents—can help even readers who are relatively unfamiliar with the Web.

TOC Example

Figure 2: A Table of Contents on a Web Site that Provides an HTML Tutorial

Site maps—graphical representations of your site—are useful because many people have used road maps at some point in their lives.

Drop-down menus—which can be created using HTML forms—have the dual advantage of functioning much like the menus on word processing and other software programs, while taking up relatively little space on your page.

Drop-Down Menu Example

Figure 3: A Drop-Down Navigation Menu.

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