The Importance of Left Side Navigation
The left hand navigation provides visitors to your site with an easy way to quickly find the information in which they are the most interested. For this reason, it is suggested that you minimize the number of links you place at each level of the navigation structure, and keep the substructures to less than three.
In order to arrange your site's information in the most efficient manner possible it is essential that you spend some time designing your site prior to entering it in the CMS. When designing your site please consider some of these design tips to improve your left hand navigation structure:
- Arrange your web content into a handful of broad categories, these will be the links that visitors see first when they visit your site.
- For each broad category divide it (as necessary) into subcategories. Try to keep the number of links you put under each main category to ten or less.
- If necessary, divide the second batch of categories again. Remember to keep the number of links under the subcategories to less than ten. For the third "tier" you should probably consider including only a few links (around five at the most).
- Keep link titles relatively short. If a title for a link in your broad categories takes up more than one line, it's too long.
Included below are some examples for main categories, subcategories, and third tier categories.
Web sites often contain large quantities of information in the body of the webpage. The sidebar area can be used to highlight important links or details that may otherwise be overlooked. Please take these suggestions for sidebars into consideration when building your site:
- Keep sidebars that contain text to a minimum. Your "highlighting" won't be effective if you put overwhelming chunks of information in the sidebar.
- Links in sidebars should be short and to the point. If it takes up more than two lines, it's too long.
- Arrange the information for the sidebar area in order of most important to least. For example, you may want to put your contact information above a section for your department's recommended links.
If you want to include the same information on several pages use "sidebar includes". Not only will they make it easier to update the information later, but they will also reduce the amount of work to include them now! An example of a perfect use for sidebar includes is to highlight the contact information for your department or organization on every page in your TeamSite. You can include this information on every page, but only have to create and update one sidebar when you use sidebar includes.
Examples of effective sidebars are provided below.
When you are editing a CMS page you may have some problems with getting the appropriate spacing in "Text" blocks. Here are some tips that might help you achieve your spacing goals:
- If you want blank space between two lines of text simply press the "Enter" button.
- If you want two lines of text to appear together (not separated by a blank line) press and hold the "Shift" key and then press "Enter" while still holding down "Shift".
- After a list of bullets the CMS may crowd the next line of text right up to the bottom of the bulleted list. (Please note: this method only works if you have already begun the new line of text after the list) To eliminate this crowding place the cursor after the last line in the bulleted list. Press and hold the "Shift" key, and then press "Enter" twice - while still holding down "Shift". In the editing window it will look like there will be two blank lines, but when you generate or preview the page there should only be one space between the list and the new text.