Using Top-level Sub-Navigation

If a section of your site has a lot of internal complexity, you can use tabs to create a sub-navigation that always appears on the top of the pages in that section. The top-level tabs make it easier for users to find what they need quickly.

This navigation is especially effective on pages that currently consist of long lists of resource groups. See, for example, the pages for undergraduate students, graduate students, or prospective students on many of the college web sites.

We call this feature "top-level sub-navigation".

Review some examples of sections with top-level sub-navigation. Click around on the tabs and the pages under each. Note the URLs. Familiarizing yourself with good examples will give you ideas for setting up your own section with top-level navigation.

What you Need to Know about Top-level Sub-Navigation

  • This navigation is available only for a section at the root of a web site. This type of sub-navigation cannot be used for a section within a section.
  • The navigation must be set at the section level (on the section bar).
  • Only editors with administrative rights can set a section for top-level navigation. Contact us if you want to use this feature of CHSSWeb.
  • The first tab in the section with top-level navigation is a page. It is always the first page in the section set for top-level navigation.
  • All the other tabs in the section with top-level navigation are sections. You need to set up a section for each tab you want other than the first one. The section name is the name that appears on the tab.
  • The tab will not show up in the navigation unless there is at least one page within the section. The page name appears above the row of tabs.

Before you Start

Determine how you want to organize the content in the section.

  • Map out the tabs (sections) and pages under each tab.
  • Sketch out the organization before proceding.
  • Contact CHSSWeb if you want any help with this phase.
  • If you have not used top-level sub-navigation on your site before, we suggest you schedule a meeting to talk about your goals for the section and how best to achieve them. Contact us.

Building the Sub-navigation

  1. Set the Section for Top-level Navigation. Contact the CHSSWeb team to set the section so that it shows top-level navigation.
  2. Create the Main Page.  A section with top-level sub-navigation must have one page not in a sub-section.  This is the main page and should not be moved.
  3. Create Sub-sections. Each sub-section you create under the main section is a top-level tab. The name of the section is the name of the tab in the top-level navigation. Add as many sub-sections as you need. A sub-section won't appear in the tab until it has at least one page.
  4. Add pages to the sub-sections.  The sub-sections won't appear in the top navigation until there are pages in those sections. If the sub-section will have several pages, select the template "page_with_subnav" in Publishing Controls. This will make the names of all other pages in the subsection appear in the right side bar.
  5. Check the Tabs. Once each sub-section has at least one page, you can view them. Check the navigation:
    • Do the tabs fit across the page?
    • Are they named in a clear way?
    • Are they in the right order? The order of the tabs in the top-level navigation is the order of the sections. You can change the tab order, by re-ordering the sections.

Resources for Building Sub-navigation