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Utility (external) navigation

Information architecture

Site map[ped]


Menus are a good indication of the implied structure of a site, even when the typed data is stored in a flat manner.


The main menu is the primary way users navigate between top-level sections. Pages in the main menu should have short, instantly-understandable titles. There should be between 1 and 7 main menu items, including the home page.


More often than not, the footer menu is a duplicate of the main menu. If there is an important but secondary page that does not fit in the main menu or elsewhere, the footer menu could be the place for it, tentatively. It's a good place to park a page in order to resolve an argument.


The utility menu is where to put 'verb' items; if the main menu has nouns like 'About' or 'Products', then the utility menu would be best for 'Contact us' or 'Schedule an appointment'. Overall, the utility menu is a great place for contact information.


The copyright menu holds legal and technical documentation links. This is stuff you have to have, but not that anybody clicks into with any regularity.


The site's content can be put into the following buckets for use throughout:

  • docs
  • events
  • forms
  • people
  • posts
  • products
  • sections


All content on the site can be described (for keyword SEO purposes) and grouped together using two different vocabularies:

  • Categories for broad, structured description
  • Tags for free-form description