Today we’re launching some noticeable changes to the Gustavus website template. These updates were made to alleviate some issues that we noticed last year following the implementation of the new design. Primarily, these changes alter the look and functionality of the header and footer, so we’ll provide a brief explanation of each change below.
The audience-specific navigation was neatly tucked behind a button called “information for.” The “information for” button was a fine idea, but members of those audiences felt it might be a bit too hidden. So, we’ve pulled those main audience landing page links to the surface, and they now reside just above the main navigation area when viewed on a larger screens (laptops and desktops). These options will appear elsewhere on tablets and smartphones–more on that below.
For many years we directed current student and employee audiences to specific landing pages referred to as the “on-campus pages.” The aforementioned “information for” menu eliminated some of the need for these pages, but now, we’re bringing them back. They’ll also look and behave a bit differently-we’ve added new features to make them more useful. We should also mention that our “off-campus audiences” will still be directed to their appropriate pages; alumni to the Alumni and Parent Engagement page, prospective students to the Admission page, and so on.
Hover Menus AKA Megamenus
The large menus that would appear when mousing over one of the global navigation options are now gone. A lot of you will miss them (I know I will), but their usefulness to the majority has diminished significantly in recent years; since hovering is not really a thing on touch devices (tablets, phones, laptops, and even a few desktops), only those on desktop machines could really enjoy them. Even then, of the people that activated a hover menu, only about 10% clicked one of the links contained within. To us, that means they were probably more of an annoyance–popping up when and where they weren’t wanted. Finally, our menus were a major accessibility issue. So, to present a more user-friendly and cohesive option, we opted to move in a new direction.
Enter the Hamburger
This new, more consistent menu will be available on all device types. From desktops to smartphones, visitors will have the option to use the hamburger menu (so named because of a commonly used icon that features a stack of three horizontal lines, which resembles a hamburger). This menu, when opened, will slide in from the right (preventing it from obscuring the in-page navigation on the left) and offer all the options that were previously available in the hover menus, as well as options specific to each audience. This “nav drawer” is sort of a combination of the “information for” and hover menus. Not only that, it also features a couple of tabs near the top for viewing the section/page navigation (useful on tablets and smartphones since the in-page navigation column is removed on smaller screens in order to preserve content space), and one for finding contact information for many offices and programs on campus (a filterable A-Z directory). While there are downsides to this approach, we felt that they would be mitigated by the growing ubiquity of the hamburger icon and nav drawer, and no other option would give us the same benefits of flexibility and near-universal uniformity.
A Clean Footer
The footer has also been revamped to “declutter” the space. We had an image of Eric Norelius, along with a quotation, some links, some buttons, a map of Minnesota, and an inexplicable dropdown menu with even more links. We’ve pared that down to just the links, our address, and the Make Your Life Count brand line. Simple. And much easier to find what you need.
As with many of our changes, these updates are a direct result of your feedback. We’d like to continue hearing from you, so please leave a comment or email us at email@example.com.