Creating a Menu, Site Guide, Table of Contents, Site Index, or Site Map

All of these terms are defined in your Web Style Guide, pp. 68-70. Depending on the complexity of your site, you might need no more than a "menu" or table of contents that appears on your home page. If you work in frames, your menu can accomany each page in the site. Or you might require a very complex site map such as this one from the New York Times:

 

Ideally, your site will contain both a menu and a Site map. You should perhaps think of the menu as a table of contents and the site map as an index.

You may wish to split your menu or table of contents into audiences, as does Miami's home page:

Here, you can click on any of the names of audiences after "Info for:" at the top of the screen. The menu on the side of the screen is clearly directed at various audiences as well:

  • "About Miami" -- newcomers to the school, i.e., prospective students and their parents, prospective employees, etc.
  • "Academics" -- someone who needs specific information about the "contents" of the University -- anything from who teaches in what department or library information to when final exams might be given or when Spring break occurs.
  • "Admission" -- prospective students
  • "Living at Miami" -- prospective students
  • "University Offices" -- anyone needing specific information about who to call, from a parent who wants to know when flu shots will be given, to a professor trying to find out the details of her insurance benefits.
  • There are also some "What's new" items toward the bottom of this welcome screen.

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