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Friday, January 28, 2011

Introduction to Navigation Design - Navigation Semantics and Syntax

Once the web application architecture and the content is defined, navigation pathways that enable users to access the web application content and functions.
- semantics of the navigation for different users of the site should be identified.
- syntax of achieving the navigation should be defined.


Each user category has a user hierarchy and related use cases. There are different navigation requirements for each actor. A set of classes are defined for the use cases developed for each user. It contains one or more content objects or web application functions. As interaction with web application occurs, series of Navigation Semantic Units(NSUs) are encountered. A NSU describes the navigation requirements for each use case. The NSU shows how an actor moves between content objects or web application functions.
Navigation Semantic Unit is a set of information and related navigation structures that collaborate in the fulfillment of a subset of related user requirements.

The Web application designer creates a navigation semantic unit for each use case associated with each user role. During initial stages of navigation design, the web application content architecture is assessed to determine one or more ways of navigating for each use case. Ways of navigating identifies navigation nodes and the links that enable navigation between them.


The syntax of navigation design are:
- Tabs: a variation of navigation bar or column.
- Individual navigation link: test based links, icons, buttons and graphical metaphors.
- Horizontal Navigation bar: lists major content or functional categories in a bar containing appropriate links.
- Vertical Navigation column: lists major content or functional categories and second lists virtually all major content objects within web application.
- Site maps: provide an all-inclusive table of contents for navigation to all content objects and functionality contained within web application.

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