e net : Help Page

Navigation Bars

I'm not a fan of sites that use tables as structure, in particular placing a navigation panel on the lefthand side of the screen. However, I still need to provide a way to navigate through my site.

To that end, I use my own purely text based navigation bars. At first, they seem slightly odd, but there is method to my madness.

Format of Navigation Bar

The navigation bar will appear at the top and bottom of every page, between two horzontal lines. For those using screen readers, the navigation bar is in it's own div element titled 'navigation bar'.

Within the div element there are one or more paragraph elements, there will normally be a 'site navigation bar' containing links to the major summary pages of the site. The first link of the site bar will be to the Introduction page of the whole site, the last link will be to the Gateway page.

Not every page will have all types of navigation bar. Generally, each page will have a 'site navigation bar' to return to the Introduction page or other top level page - though these may not include all options.

Due to the design of the bar, it is possible for them to become overly long. Currently these is no way to avoid this, but eventually I plan to add 'A-Z' pages for each domain, thus the entire navigation bar could be replaced by that single link if desired.

Site Navigation Bar

The list is separated by colons, a single colon can be read as a list of options under the first, usually this will be the major subdomains of the site. A double colon ends this list and begins important links, these may be external or internal, but indicate pages of importance. Finaly, a triple colon indicates the end of the list, after which there are links to the Gateway and this help page.

Links are surrounded by square brackets, [], and are in alphabetical order within each sublist of the whole bar.

Domain and Section Navigation Bars

Many of my websites will be split into major topics or categories, each of these will be given a subdomain from which you can view a more detailed description and continue to a specific section. These Domain Summary pages will have a 'domain navigation bar'.

Links will be listed in alphabetical order within round brackets or parenthesis, (), with entries separated by forward slashes, /. There may be several lists, especially if the topic is large or complex. If this is the case, there will normally be a large contents page, that will contain links to all the sections, subsections, pages and articles within the topic.

Each topic is considered a section, so it will have a 'section navigation bar'. This is of the same form as the domain navigation bar. The exact distinction is not specified, it depends on the topic and domain.

Page Navigation Bar

Finally, within a large page there may be need to have a way to quickly jump to certain sections. If the page is large, there will be an initial contents listing of greater depth. The 'page navigation bar' will only highlight interesting or popular parts of the page.

Links will be within the current page only, they will be listed within hashes, #, to remind they are links to elements on the current page.

This page © Copyright 2006, Simon White

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