If your site map is deep and complex, you may need to develop a hierarchical navigation style.
You should only have so many visible navigation items on each page – but if you have more than about 12 main navigation options, even in a vertical navigation system. You can certainly have more than 12 pages, though – for example, I have almost 400 pages in my website. How do you include all of these pages without having incredibly long navigation?
By creating main topical categories and then including more links to other pages as secondary links. This enables you to present navigation links to lots of pages in an organized fashion.
For example, you might break things out like this:
In the “About” category:
About Our Company
About Our People (Bios)
News & Events
If you have a lot of subcategories in one main section, then you might consider further grouping some of those together into a tertiary navigation section.
There are a few options for how to design this Secondary navigation:
- Drop down menus: For reasons discussed in my earlier post on Horizontal Navigation, I don’t recommend traditional drop down menus. They depend on specialized coding that can be difficult to create, maintain, manage and update.
I most often recommend fold-out navigation to my clients.