Navigation Structure

Self-Evident and Easy to Understand

A good navigation structure is clear, self-evident, and easy for website users to understand. The aim is to guide users through the website as easily as possible, i.e. a minimal learning curve for the website’s navigation structure. Users should be able to quickly find the section that has the information they’re seeking.

Overview: No More than Seven Sections in the First Level

The first navigation level should contain no more than seven sections. These sections are the website’s “signposts” and should allow users to quickly find the section where they will find their information. Website users are unlikely to take in more than seven sections at first glance.

Service menus such as Support, FAQs, Glossary, etc. are the exception to this rule, since the familiar headings and their content are easily registered by users.

As Flat as Possible, as Deep as Necessary

The navigation structure in the next levels should be as flat as possible, but as deep as necessary. In other words, avoid creating a subsection if you can also include its content on a higher level. However, with large amounts of content it makes more sense to spread the information out across several subpages rather than cram it all into one page. The old three-click rule should be taken with a grain of salt. It’s better to adapt the navigation structure to suit your specific content.

Clear and Simple Headings

Choose clear, simple, understandable, and self-evident navigation headings. The simplest and most obvious heading is often the best one. Avoid creating new words or rehashing old chestnuts. You should also avoid abbreviations, unless they’re introduced clearly or in general use.

Consistent Menu Headings

The structure of a website is easier to understand if the menus have consistent menu headings. Changing the heading concept at the subpage level can be confusing, since this means that website users must familiarize themselves with a new structure.

Choose a parallel structure for all menu items and once you’ve chosen a heading concept, apply it for the entire website.

Use “Official” UZH Titles

Having uniform titles for the main sections for all UZH websites makes it easier for users to find their way. This is why we recommend using uniform titles for the same topics across UZH websites. In particular, this refers to key academic terms such as “Research” and “Teaching”, but also includes general sections, e.g. “News”, “About Us”, and “Services”.