5.2b Define navigation
It is important that your site is easy to navigate. Consistency and predictability are the key. A user should be able to drill down for information and find their way back through the levels easily and intuitively. Disorientating your users is guaranteed to send them away from your site.
Page layout (i.e. how the contents of a Web page are arranged) is a key aspect of the user's navigational experience. Ideally, the structure of a Web page should not change dramatically as users click around the Web site: what happened on one page should happen in the same way on other pages. Consistency is one of the main defining principles for a successful Web site.
If you click around FAO's Web sites, you will note that the page layout of most sites is based on a design that has the area beneath the banner split into two or three columns. Each column should have a specific role and that role should be consistent.
FAO Web sites use a range of navigation schemes. Menus listing are displayed in a number of ways depending on the system being used and the type of information being displayed. There are currently two principle navigation schemes:
Remember... Keep it consistent!
The navigation system should be in the same place on every page and have the same format. Visitors will become confused and frustrated if links and menus appear and disappear unpredictably.
Top tab menu
At FAO there are numerous Web sites that use top tab menu navigation as the principal method for moving around the Web site. Clicking on one of the top tabs or content categories, takes the user to a new menu.
Side-menu navigation has traditionally been used on the Web since the Internet first became popular a decade ago. This type of site navigation is used throughout FAO.