Navigation

Review guidelines for navigation menus and request the position and label for each menu item based on those guidelines. Requests to add or change menu items are made via the web services request form.

Keep the number of menu items down to five or fewer, with an absolute limit of seven. Think about how you’d like your web site viewers to go through your pages and order the menu items with the most important at the top and the lesser important links in the middle (analytics will assist in identifying what information your site visitors find most important; request analytics by emailing ga_webpublishing). Put the Contact menu item at the bottom – this is the standard location and it pays to stick to standards when it comes to web usability. Consider that some viewers will be looking at your site using a mobile device – having the most important links at the top becomes critical.

Short term memory can hold about seven items; so, any more than that can be counter-productive. With a long list of navigation items, it is much more likely that viewers will be overwhelmed and scan past the items that are most important. When you have fewer items on the navigation, each one is more prominent and carries more importance, both from a usability/human factors perspective and from a search engine perspective. Attention and retention are highest for items at the beginning (top) and the end (bottom) so the order of the menu items should follow this principle.

Menu item labels should not be more than three-to-four words; and, no more than two lines. Do not use acronyms that are not known and understood by your site visitors. Be specific and aim for highly descriptive menu item labels (e.g., Undergraduate Housing Options). Using descriptive labels will improve SEO and will allow viewers to easily identify their path. Don’t make your web viewers work to get to the page they want, use terms that make sense to them.

Match navigation links to page titles. If a page is titled “Applying,” its navigation link should be named the same. Avoid overly clever names for navigation links and page titles; they can be confusing for the user.

No: Join the Class of 2017

Yes: Apply

Link main menu items to a section of the site. Site visitors come with expectations about how a navigation scheme works; meeting their expectations is a priority. Use intuitive navigation so your web visitors do not have to spend time figuring it out.

Sub-menu items can link to a single page but must link to a page within the site. Use embedded text links within the content to link off to another site. To increase visibility for a single page, use a Helpful, or Quick, Link menu.

The color and style of menu item text is set based on Bentley's style guide.

  • Non-Active State: the style of non-active menu items is black text, no shading.
  • Hover State: the style of menu items when hovering is blue text, shaded.
  • Active State: the style of active menu items is blue text, no shading.
  • Expanded Menu: the style of expanded menu items is black text, shaded menu.