navigation

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Navigation refers to the UI, UX and markup allowing people to move around a website. On indieweb sites this often consists of:

  • top-level post type links e.g. notes, articles
  • previous/next pagination between consecutive chronologically ordered posts
  • the use of tags to navigate to similar content

Why

So users can easily discover more of your content from your content, preferably contextually relevant, e.g. in time (next/previous), by topic (tags), by type of posts (e.g. just notes, just articles, just events, just likes).

How

As with any UX there are a number of approaches. Best to check the IndieWeb Examples provided in each level.

Levels

Levels of navigation support have emerged from implementations in the wild and are part of IndieMark.

In approximate order of frequency and difficulty (more frequent / easier to implement first)

Level 1

Level 1: no requirements.

Level 2

Level 2: simple linear/sequential previous/next navigation across posts by time order

Options to consider:

  • all posts
  • "root" posts only (everything but responses)
  • sequential nav only among posts of a specific type (notes, photos, articles, etc.)

IndieWeb Sequential Examples

Tantek

Tantek Çelik uses Falcon on tantek.com to display a previous/next navigation using unicode symbols (←→) on all post permalink pages since 2010-01-01 (explicitly documented 2010-02-01). Original navigation UI:
tantek-com-demo-note-2013-251.png
Navigation arrow variants for first, other, last items:
2011-112-04.05.15_0100-falcon-arrows.png

Silo Sequential Examples

Twitter

Finally, after years of lacking simple sequential navigation, sometimes in 2016 Twitter added sequential navigation to *some* permalink views. E.g.

Level 3

Level 3: time period based archive pages.

See also:

Level 4

Level 4: tag based archive pages (paginated by time or amount) of your own content

Future levels

Possible futures: (brainstorms, don't know of anyone doing these)

  • geo (e.g. city/state/country specific) based archive pages
  • mentions of a person (person tags)

Design

Temporal Direction

In the past there have been debates about the correct "meaning" of left / right sequential navigation arrows in the UI on posts or archive pages etc.

There is general agreement that:

  • Left = back, right = forward

This is unanimously consistent in Browser UIs for example. The back button always points to the left, and always shows you the previous page / URL you were viewing, whereas the forward button renavigates your forward along the path you previously took.

However when it comes to temporal references to permalinks and archives there are two positions:

  • Left = past (older), right = future (newer)
  • Left = future (newer), right = past (older)

In detail:

Left Past

Examples:

Articles:

Left Future

Examples:

  • Kartik Prabhu (only on archive pages, no sequential nav on permalinks)
  • ...

Articles:

  • 2015-07-11 Kartik Prabhu The Web’s Arrow of Time - in which Kartik presents presents examples of both Left Past and Left Future and ends up concluding that due to predominant reverse-chronological-timelines, that on the web Left Future makes more sense for him!

See Also