For the new Mail & Guardian Online that we are launching later next month we’ve had quite a few discussions and workshops about the navigation. It was a unanimous decision early on that we would opt for a top nav, discarding the left nav we currently have, which we feel is outdated and cluttered. We’ve also consolidated the sections, creating a few “super sections”, as we figure we currently have too many which dilute the offering from a content and advertising perspective.
The navigation meetings we’ve had have been involved… deciding how you structure your content is a decision based on understanding the tradeoffs: how users surf your site, what’s intuitive, what content is core to your business, what content is available to your business, what your general strategic direction is, available space, what’s best practice, which sections follow parent-child relationships and so on. Some decisions are obvious and follow best practice, such as on a news site, the news section is the key and a regional approach is general advised for your subsections.
We also decided early on that we would need to follow a balancing act between innovation, originality, creativity and what we regard as international best practice for website creation in the news genre. For the M&G Online, a big consumer news site, the overall structure, navigation and look & feel has to comply to best practice and be intuitive to a wide audience, but with pockets of innovation here and there. It’s no good creating an extremely innovative site that brings in new navigation and content paradigms that your users may or may not get.
So below is the proposal for the new nav so far… it’s not finalised yet. We still have a few more meetings on it to go. There are three levels of navigation: Top level (eg: news), sub category (eg: national) and third level (eg: courts). The third level isn’t shown below.
PROPOSED NAV BAR FOR M&G ONLINE 2.0
HOME (only on secondary pages)
NATIONAL | AFRICA | WORLD | AND IN OTHER NEWS … | ZAPIRO | WEATHER
COMMENT & ANALYSIS | COLUMNISTS | LETTERS | BODY LANGUAGE | OBITUARIES | CORRECTIONS
BUSINESS NEWS | M&G MONEY
SPORT NEWS | SOCCER | RUGBY | CRICKET | TENNIS | GOLF | ATHLETICS | MOTOR RACING | OTHER SPORT
ARTS | TRAVEL | MOTORING | TECHNOLOGY
THOUGHT LEADER | TECH LEADER | SPORTSLEADER | AMAGAMA | AMATOMU
– Editorials and Weekly Wrap form part of Comment & Analysis page
– Special Reports can change to feature various reports
– Partner Sites have promos elsewhere (Good News, Teacher, Campus Times)