illustration of a sign-post with directional arrows

Guiding Users

Every website visitor wants to be able to find what they are looking for easily and quickly. This is especially true for people with visual, mobility, or cognitive impairments who may find it more difficult to determine where they are on a website and how to get to where they want to go.

For most website work using CQ5 or NYU Classes, much of the navigational framework is already in place. However, you still need to ensure that navigation and orientation aids such as headings, links, lists, and icons are well designed and organized.

How to Get Started

Consistency in the interface and information design means people can learn how to use your site and apply what they know across all the pages of your site. Inconsistency in approach can be particularly disruptive for people who use assistive technology, such as screen reader or screen magnification software.

If you provide a useful navigation aid on more than one page, make sure it’s consistently presented in appearance and position each time you use it. When using platforms like CQ and NYU Classes, much of the interface is provided by the platform. The information hierarchy, or  layout of page content, also supports wayfinding.

  • Use descriptive page titles. When you create a new page, think about how the page title will appear in the browser history or bookmarks. Provide a title that clearly communicates the purpose and content of the page.
  • Use headings consistently. If you start a convention of preceding the first paragraph on each page with a Level 2 section heading, make sure you always do this.
  • Provide consistent navigation. If you provide a list of items on more than one page, for example, a list of links, make sure the list is consistently ordered on each page.

Accessibility Checklist

  • Review each page you produce. Are you consistent in the way you use headings and navigation options?
  • Do your pages have a descriptive title? Check how they appear in your browser history. One convention is to use Page Name | Section Name | Site Name.
  • Test your page with a keyboard. Set your mouse aside and use the tab key to navigate through your web pages. You should be able to access all interactive features (e.g., menus, links, form fields, buttons, controls) and operate them by pressing Enter, space, arrow keys or other intuitive keystrokes. If you are unable to access some of your site’s features, your site is likely to have accessibility problems.

Resources