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Designing effective navigation systems for intranets
Thursday, April 14, 2005
A good navigation system answers these questions:
Here are three navigation systems that work well in a variety of situations. All of them include persistent navigation: top navigation items that remain consistent on every page, giving the user a sense of place and familiarity.
When designing navigation for your intranet, consider some of the more difficult scenarios. Can a user quickly navigate through a set of related items, like each benefit or perk in the employee section? What if some of the related items have child pages, and some do not? How will file downloads or external links be handled?
There is no perfect navigation system for a broad and deep site, as intranets usually are. But if you consider a variety of scenarios and employ several kinds of user testing, your navigation will be effective.
About the Author
I'm Chris McGrath, an intranet consultant in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. I've been working on intranets since 1997, and on plain ol' web sites for even longer. I run One Intranets, the firm that co-created ThoughtFarmer -- an enterprise collaboration platform for Windows-based intranets.
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