Museo&Web

Planning Kit for a Quality Site for Small and Medium Sized Museums

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Metanavigation

However well planned, the navigation tools of a site may prove insufficient for fast and reliable retrieval of information. The user may then need to contact the site (i.e. the organisation) on the basis of information found while browsing, or because the information sought is not found.

Certain features for use of the site are important on every page.

The user should have access to readily available help features on every page. These features should be located in an area of the page that contains elements for communication and general workings of the site.

Some typical elements of meta-navigation are:

  • Home: indicates link to the Home page.
  • Search: link to search engines to find specific contents within the site.
  • Site Map: indicates the layout of the site and all its directories.
  • Guide: contains general information on the site and how to use it.
  • Contact: allows quick contact with the site organisers. This link usually opens the user’s e-mail software.
  • Feedback: this usually opens a form where the user can send comments and technical suggestions related to content of the site.

All the elements of Meta-navigation should be grouped together in order to give the sense of a single block, present and visible on every page. A good position would be the heading of Page Structure, just after the logo.

One characteristic of the elements of Meta-navigation is that of opening a new window for each feature. Indeed, each feature requires further explanation, which can be briefly included directly in the page of the new window when it is opened.

Useful tools

Online examples

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© Minerva Project 2005-02, last revision 2006-03-27, edited by WP5, Committee for the development of a prototype of public cultural websites.
URL: www.minervaeurope/structure/workinggroups/userneeds/prototipo/protomuseo/metanav_e.html