CAEN Knowledge Base
CAEN Knowledge Base

How do I make my website's menu more accessible?

Menus should be organized according to what site visitors need, not according to department organization or preferences. Navigation labels should be brief (1 or 2 words), familiar and different from one another.

  • Avoid jargon and internal language. Resist the urge to use the names of offices or programs in navigation menus
  • Stick with commonly understood terms (ie. Home, Contact, About)
  • Remove repeated words (i.e. Resources, Information, Michigan, Engineering)
  • Remove excessive identifiers (i.e. "Department Contacts" rather than "Graduate Engineering Department Contact List")
  • Step-by-step guidance to wrangle an overgrown navigation menu

Items in the navigation menus should NOT lead to a site with a different navigation. This disorients visitors, and may cause them to distrust your site. This is especially true for the main navigation menu. Instead, create a landing page related to a topical grouping and link to external pages from there.

Navigation menus should also be limited to seven or fewer items:

  • Using more than seven choices increases the mental load on visitors. Humans can only effectively hold seven items in short-term memory. Fewer is better.
  • It's okay if users have to click multiple times, as long as users have a clear sense that they’re moving toward their goal.