Guideline: Defining Navigation Views
This guideline explains how to organize content into views to obtain a quality published web site.
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This guideline provides recommendations on how to use custom categories to define navigation views. For general information on custom categories, see Guideline: Categorizing Method Elements Using Custom Categories.

Navigation views are defined as custom categories that define the structure and content of the published method. Figure 1 provides an example of a custom category that represents a navigation view. The custom category definition is shown on the left and its realization in the published Web site is shown on the right.  

Figure 1. View Custom Category Example
navigation_view_custom_category_example navigation_view_example

In general, the following are some criteria that affect how you define navigation views for your method:

  • Number of elements: The more elements you have, the more there is a need to organize them for easy navigation
  • Published representation of the method: How do consumers of the method want to navigate the published method. Define navigation views to support the desired navigation paths.

When defining navigation views, it is important to consider the intended audience and usage model of the view, since this will drive the overall organization/hierarchy of the view. For example, will the view be organized by element type or by process area? This information can be captured in the description of the custom category itself. Such information will be helpful to the person who may may want to consider including the navigation view in their configuration for publication.

When defining the navigation views, it is a good idea to create a navigation views that represents a natural reading sequence. The guideline to the user would be: "Yes, you CAN click on the links within pages, but that's only if you want to jump to another location in the website, or do some free exploration. If you want to read the material in the recommended order, and make sure you didn't miss anything, then use this navigation view". In such a "natural reading sequence" navigation view,  each topic should appear only once. The benefits of this approach are:

  • You can print the configuration
  • You can can the expanded tree visually for a topic (rather than use the "search")
  • You can look for information by logically figuring out what category it logically belongs to. That way even if you don't know the name of a page, you can find it by expanding the appropriate nodes in the navigation view.

The following are some navigation views that you my want to consider defining for your method:

  • Welcome view: Includes a Welcome page, as well as About and What’s New pages. Provides a starting point for first time users, no matter what their role.
  • Getting Started view: Provides quick access to key concepts, Web site structure and usage information for the new user.  
  • Key Elements view: Provides quick access to the key elements of the method -- processes, roles, tasks, work products and processes (it is assumed that guidance is accessible from those elements).   
  • Team view: Provides access to all elements in the configuration, organized by method element type and then by category. This views serves as a type of index to all elements in the method.
  • Role-based views: Provides access to the elements of most interest to the role . 
  • Process-based views: Provides access to the elements that support the process. 
  • Organization/Project-based views: Provides access the the elements of most interest to the organization/project. This view connects the abstractness of the method (content elements and guidance) with the concreteness of project life (physical work products) and encourages the team to live the process. It is minimalist and thus largely artifact-based, but may also include:
    • Links to the current version of artifacts
    • Elements of the development case,
    • Selected guidance
    • Project team information
    • Change Request information
    • Discussion forums

   

Special instructions when authoring in the UMF: When defining navigation views for methods that are to exist within the Unified Method Framework (UMF), there are certain conventions that need to be adhered to.  For more information, see Guideline: Navigation Views in the UMF.

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