Website Navigation Guidelines

Here are some guidelines to keep in mind so your visitors can find the information they need and accomplish the tasks you want them to online.

Remember Your Audience:

  • Your website navigation isn't for your department staff, it's for your website visitors. If it doesn't make sense to them, it needs to be changed so it does.

Be Descriptive:

  • Use keywords that are clear and intuitive to your audience.
  • Don't assume the only visitors to your page come through your main page. Most of the time they will search.
    • If your page is named vaguely ("About" or "Staff" or "Contact Us," for example) then the search result will only list your page name and not the context it is in.
    • Instead, name your pages descriptively ("About Academic Affairs" or "College of Allied Health and Nursing Staff" or "Contact Undergraduate Admissions"). You can use "Navigation Name" to shorten the length of the link in the navigation of your site. Visit the How-To Guide for EpiServer for instructions on adding a navigation name.
  • Help your visitors find what they're looking for by using natural page groupings and subgroups. Work to achieve a naturally progressive disclosure of content (general to specific/broad to detailed information).

Keep the Number of Top Level Links Seven or Fewer:
If needed, expand to nine at most.

  • If you have 15 or 20 links in your top-level navigation, your visitors won't be able to hold the order of your links in their memory. They will need to read every link every time they visit your website or want to switch pages.
  • Keep the secondary list to five or fewer if possible.
  • Remember, these are guidelines. If you must break them, make sure you've got a good reason.

For information or assistance on designing your site's navigation, please contact Lindsey Beyer, Director of Web Marketing.