Overview: Navigation and Menus

Alternative and creative. Site must be viewed at 1024 X 1168 resolution.
The navigation system of your website must be very carefully planned before any work occurs on the web design. The navigation system is used to create the menu and is the driving force and unity of your site.

Your navigation system, like a road system, must be designed to get your customers and guests from point A to point B as quickly and easily as possible. They want information now and don't want to hunt for it.

Step one is to very carefully consider all the information that you want to include in your website. Be prepared to take on some writing. The W5 rule of journalism is a good way to start.

Ask yourself these questions about yourself or your company: Who am I/ are we? What do we do? Where do we do it? When do we do it, and Why do we do it? The answers to these questions will give you most of the material you need to include in your website. You should also consider the question How do we do it? as a legitimate source of information. Once you have gathered all your information, step two is to decide on the purpose of your website. Some purposes of websites are:

  1. To market and promote a product.
  2. To market and promote a service.
  3. To inform the public of programs.
  4. To campaign for membership of programs.
  5. To campaign for membership of services.
  6. To enroll support for worthy causes.

The purpose of your web site will dictate your approach to the layout and design of your site. If the marketing of a product or service is your aim, your site must present information which sells your company and shows why you are better than your competitors. If your site is of an informational nature, you must consider the best way to break down the information into easy to digest pieces. If your business relies on membership for continued prosperity, your site needs to convince the readers that your cause is the one to support. Lastly, if your site is presenting a worthy cause, you again need to convince the readership that yours is the most important and worthy cause to support.

Step three is now where the actual design work begins. You must now consider how to present your information, how to break it down, how to categorize it. The majority of websites use some very common concepts to disseminate information in the form of headings such as:


Some headings will probably need to be broken down again. Usually there are further breakdowns for headings such as:


Some more complicated websites have a site map, but in our opinion your navigation system should be your site map and if the navigation system is developed properly in the first place you won't have need of a site map. Here is an example of how to break out the headings for The ABC Home Renovation Company.


Who we are What we do When we do it Why we do it How we do it Where we are
Personnel Services Past Performance Success Stories Processes Contact
Credentials Products Future Purpose Procedures Location
Resume Programs Portfolio Goals Programs Phone
Skills Success Stories Partners Email
Note in the diagram above how some labels seem to overlap. These overlaps need to be prevented in your navigation system. To alleviate the issues with the above break out, simply combine the How and What categories into one, then break out the What we do category as in the the diagram below. Replace the What we do category in the above example with the diagram below, and remove the How we do it category in the diagram above. We now have a very complete breakout of The ABC Renovation Company and nothing is repeated.




Programs Processes
Carpentry Bath Decks Home Prepay Chosing Material
Plumbing Jacuzzi Pergola Wet Bars Payment Plans Estimates
Bricklaying Tubs/Basin Gazebo Family Rooms Pay per Service Certifications
Roofing Showers Jacuzzi Kitchens Partners Permits
Here is what it will look like once we combine both tables as we said we should.






Programs Processes
Carpentry Bath Decks Home Prepay Material
Plumbing Jacuzzi Pergola Wet Bars Payment Plans Estimates
Bricklaying Tubs/Basin Gazebo Family Rooms Pay per Service Certifications
Roofing Showers Jacuzzi Kitchens Partners Permits
When Why Where 
Personnel Past  Success  Contact
Credentials Future Purpose Location
Resume Portfolio Goals Phone
Skills Success Email
Now that you have a viable navigation system breakout, you must write your material and content to fit the categories you have decided on. In your web pages, the personality of your company must come across as confident, honest, sincere, knowledgeable, productive, purposeful, detail and service oriented. Use positive wording and show respect for your competitors while outlining why your company is head and shoulders above the rest in your field. Details are good because they will separate you from your competitors. At this point the designer can take over, using the client's outline, breakout and material. Your material will hopefully contain photographs and portfolio work, as well as content to fill out all the categories you've chosen. Let us show you the menu, click here, we created for the ABC Renovation Company. We were able to categorize all their current needs and we will be able to expand later if they decide to take on more services.