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On the Menu

Unlike presents under the tree, there can be too many items in your website navigation. For years, web design has been guided by the "rule of 7 +/- 2," which hypothesized that people could not process chunks of information containing more than 9 items. Although that reasoning may not be entirely sound, the idea that long navigation menus can be annoying for users has merit. As we approach the end of the year, take some time to do some navigation menu maintenance.

Remove Unnecessary Items

Because the Ag Content Management System (Ag CMS) automatically adds new items to the navigation menu, it's easy to end up with items in your menu that don't need to be there. Check your menu for items that shouldn't be there. Sometimes items end up in the navigation menu on your home page, when you intended them to be inside one of your subfolders. Move those items to where they belong.

It's also easy to end up with items in your site's menu that shouldn't be displayed at all. Images and other files, like PDFs, can be stored in folders that are set to be excluded from the navigation menu. Individual items can be set to be excluded from the navigation as well.

Check you menu for images and other files that shouldn't be displayed and set them to be excluded from the navigation.

Prioritize Menu Items

The Ag CMS put the newest items at the bottom of the navigation menu, but you have control over the order of your menu items. Many sites in Ag CMS order menu items alphabetically. That can help users find items in an especially long menu, but for most menus it would be better to put the most used items first.

If you're not sure which items your users view the most, Ag Comm Web Services can check your site's Google Analytics for the most viewed content on your site. Another way to look at this would be to prioritize the content you'd like people to use more. By putting this content near the top of your menu, you are telling users it is important.

Take a look at the order of your navigation menu and put the most viewed or most critical items first.

Think About Your Menu in Mobile

When users view Ag CMS websites on a mobile device, the navigation menu is collapsed under a "hamburger button" at the top-right of the screen. A "hamburger button" is a button with three stacked lines that indicates a menu or "more." If there is an item that you want to make sure every users sees, you need to do more than just add it to the menu.

hamburger menu on Ag CMS

The Ag CMS mobile view prioritizes the "content area" of your web pages. That's the center portion of your pages, excluding the left and right columns.

If you want to make sure mobile users see something, put it in the content area at the top, so users don't have to click the menu button or scroll to see it.

If you have any questions or need any assistance with your Ag CMS site, please email me.

Bob Bertsch, Web Technology Specialist, 701-231-7381

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