About Sections

In CHSSWeb, the pages of a website can be grouped into sections. Sections are like file folders in that they help keep together, in one place, pages that have related kinds of information. Using sections helps keep the website organized, particularly as more and more pages are added.

An example of a section in CHSSWeb is "Undergraduate". All CHSSWeb websites that serve undergraduate students have a section named "Undergraduate". With some exceptions, the pages that have information that is relevant just to undergraduate students are in this section.

Sections and URLs

Though sections aren't pages and have no content of their own, sections do have URLs, which are derived from their names, with dashes between words. Section names begin with capital letters; the URLs are lower case. The section gives its URL to each page in the section.

For example, the pages in the "Undergraduate" section have the URL "/undergraduate"

  • URL for a page in this section for research -- /undergraduate/research
  • URL for a page in this section for advising -- /undergraduate/advising

The pages in the section called "Events Application" have the URL "/events-application"

  • URL for a general page about the application -- /events-application/about
  • URL for a page about best practices -- /events-application/best-practices

If you type in just the URL for the section, you get the first page in that section. So, for example, if you type yourdepartment.gmu.edu/undergraduate (economics.gmu.edu/undergraduate; psychology.gmu.edu/undergraduate), you will get the first page in the "Undergraduate" section, probably a page called "For Undergraduate Students."

The URL of the section also appears in the breadcrumb at the top of each page in the section.

Advantages of Using Sections

From the point of view of people updating the website, it is quicker to find specific pages when they are in well-organized groups, i.e. sections. In large departments with multiple web editors, this can be used to coordinate their work: different sections can be assigned to different web editors.

From the point of view of users of the website, being able to see the sections in the URL provides information about how the pages are organized. This will help orient some users sensitive to such information as they navigate the website.

Tip for Organizing Pages into Sections

A webpage can only be in one section. If there is a page that is potentially relevant to a number of different sections (e.g. to both graduate and undergraduate), you have three choices:

  • Place it in one of the two sections and link to it from the other. Consider whether visitors who follow the link to the page from the other section will be confused by the change.
  • Place it in a generically-named section meant for shared content ("miscellaneous" or "other"). Visitors to this page will see all other pages in that section in the left-hand navigation. 
  • Place it at the root level of the site. There will be no left-hand navigation. If you do this extensively, however, your pages and sections listing will become cluttered.