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Left Nav

I'll go on record. I don't like our fly-out menus and I don't like the audience links.

My beef with fly-out menus:


  • they are difficult to navigate especially for people like my mom who has a hand tremor

  • users rarely land on the first level page so we miss the chance to introduce a topic

  • they're only needed when space is tight - not our problem if we were to get rid of the...


Audience links:

  • Curriculum Integration is not an audience

  • they just lead back to other parts of the site so users may be better off heading straight there

  • analytics tells us they're rarely used


However, big changes would be biting off more than we can chew. Better to focus on incremental improvements to what we've got. Here's what I propose:

  1. Remove the green triangle though it's better now that Brendan removed the white background that appeared on mouse over

  2. Make the links easier to select by making them bigger

  3. Make sure they work for users who use a keyboard or pointer to navigate

  4. Make sure submenu links mirror the area's internal navigation

  5. Remove the teeny pictures from the audience links; they don't enhance understanding

  6. Set off Curriculum Integration above or below the audience links

  7. Recode to use only css, no javascript


Here's a simple, pure CSS fly-out menu. Tell me what you think. Just for fun, here's a study of different mouse-over behaviors.

Comments

Left Nav

I like the visual separation between the topics at the top and the photos giving meaning to the different audiences. The photos also add a personal human aspect to the complex and info-intensive site. If it is just a personal preference, I'll give a vote to keep them.

I thought that the audiences get some activity the last time Jeremy and I talked, especially UofM non uofm and faculty..... not true?

I agree that we could move CI. It has never been an audience. But that is an age-old conversation. Ask Gayle and Martha.

Busted. You're right, student audience links get clicked. I'm picking on the others, "International Educators" for example. But big changes to the navigation should be based on user research and not my say so. Even my suggestion to shift Curriculum Integration should be evaluated in the context that I'm extremely anal.

From what I can tell from the new service Jason set up on our site, the audience links receive about 10% of all clicks on our homepage. The the flyout menu receives a little more than 30% of all clicks. The rest are scattered throughout the page.

The faces visually distinguish the audience links from the topic links, but I agree, they add visual clutter. We already have so many different elements calling for attention at once, I vote to get rid of them.

CI should be a topic link, though I know that has been long-argued.

I know this is just a mockup, but the white/gray combo in your new left nav is bland to me. I prefer the light gold, or at least white and light gold.

I don't think we need a "Home" link in the left nav. Our logo could serve as that link, something which I think is pretty common practice. The additional link takes up space and feels redundant, especially on the homepage. If it must stay, I elect we establish a style to indicate which of the left nav sections we are in (eg make "Home" tab darker gold when on the homepage).

Unfortunately, though, I'm not sure our current site architecture lends itself to such clear organization or categories.

Finally, I think we have too many links in the left nav with both topic and audience links. That is clearly a huge discussion and one best saved for someday when we have the change to reconsider our site architecture, but as it is, we feature 17 links in the left nav. I think this is too many, that users cannot process so many options.

Sorry that got long...

I would prioritize #4 "Make sure submenu links mirror the area's internal navigation". It seems a like an easier first step for an area which we may not have much say over.

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