Eye Tracking Laboratory

University of Pavia

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B8 - Navigation Menu Tree

Issue Definition

Hierarchically-based courses should reflect their structure in the Course Plan, usually placed in the Index Page. Whenever the course structure is wide enough, users can sometimes feel lost while navigating the course independently from the linearity degree of the course itself. A quick and easy access to the Course Plan can greatly improve users’ confidence in their own learning path awareness and progress. The Navigation Menu Tree is the best way of representing a Course Plan.

Guideline Text

1. The Navigation Menu Tree should be placed in a fixed and well defined position in the page structure:
1.a Use the left side of the page.

2. The Navigation Menu Tree should be clearly visible and easy to be accessed:
2.a Font size should be carefully taken into account in order to provide good readability. A too compressed menu list does not provide the correct information if the user is not able to really read where the current page is placed in the Course Plan and what it is;
2.b Long titles reported in the Course Plan can require too much space with respect to what allowed by the frame width. Since for readability purposes, font size could not be scaled down beyond a certain limit, two ways can be followed:
• going to a new line, otherwise the menu vertical expansion can be problematic;
• truncating the title after three words at most and filling out with dots.

3. Users’ current position in the course structure should be clearly visible:
3.a It is devisable to implement a fold/unfold mechanism in order to have the current position in the structure in the forefront;
3.b The Navigation Menu Tree should be left unfolded if possible;
3.c Current position item in the menu list should be made more visible than the other ones. For instance, by highlighting them or by shadowing the neighbouring ones.

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