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Smallsite Design

Online management help

5. Site navigation elements

There are multiple means of navigating around a Smallsite Design site.

The standard navigation of the web is hyperlinks, but it can be tedious building all the links required for a working site, because it is not just creating the links, but manually working out where to put the important links into the structure of a site and make them visually distinctive. Smallsite Design does all this automatically as part of creating content, though it also provides optional additional elements for visually-enhanced navigation.

In general, to reduce clutter, a navigation link will not be shown if it is targeting the current page.

Automatically createdβ–³

Several navigation aids are created as a result of creating content.

Subsite navigation barβ–³

The subsite navigation bar provides quick access to major items of the site.

The subsite navigation bar includes by default:

  1. a.Home – link to the home page for the subsite.
  2. b.Categories – link to the Categories page for the subsite.
  3. c.Subsites – link to the Subsites page, if more than one subsite.
  4. – indicates the current subsite, if more than one.
  5. – link to the home page for that subsite, if more than one.
  6. f.Links – link to the Links section at the bottom of the page.
  7. g.πŸ” – link to the Search box in the Links section.

The Home link is not shown on the home page. The Categories link will not be shown if every category for the subsite already has a link in the bar. If there is only the main subsite, then the Subsites link and names are not shown. The site owner may have chosen to only show the Subsites link and none of their name links.

List pagesβ–³

There are several pages that list site elements of the same type.

The list pages available are:

  1. a.Subsites page – lists all subsites.
  2. b.Categories page – lists all the categories for a subsite, with links to each Category page.
  3. c.Category page – lists all the articles for a category, with links to each article.

There is no list of the default category of a subsite, but its pages are usually available through links elsewhere, such as home pages in the top navigation bar or Subsites page, or in the Subsite links subsection of the Links section at the bottom of pages.

The Navigation article also allows a catalog, which is like a categories page, except that it is an ordered list that can contain up to 20 articles or categories from anywhere on the site. This makes it suitable for themed content that may span multiple categories or subsites.

Latest articlesβ–³

Being able to highlight the latest articles allows repeat visitors to catch up quickly.

The three ways Smallsite Design lists the latest articles are:

  1. a.Latest articles subsection of the Links section at the bottom of each page, for the latest three.
  2. b.Latest articles page for the latest 10, linked to from the heading of the Latest articles subsection.
  3. c.Subsite feed for the latest 10, linked to by the Feed link in the Subsite links subsection of the Links section.

All three show the latest articles for the current subsite, latest first, up until their number limit. The Latest articles page can be bookmarked in a browser, and the Feed can be added to a feed reader in some email clients or a browser extension.

Enhanced navigationβ–³

Several extra elements are available for providing extra and visually-enhanced navigation.

Smallsite Design is primarily geared towards the written word, but it does provide some visual navigation aids to help visitors discover premium site content.

All the enhanced navigation facilities described here are enabled by selecting the type of link in the Link type column of the table in the Links to section of the Subsite or Article head pages, and then selecting the required articles or categories on the Links page.

Important content can be accessed by adding special links in key navigation areas.

In addition to providing links to a subsite's Categories page and other subsites, the Subsite navigation bar also allows up to five custom links to be added to the start. These can be for internal articles or categories, but also external links. These links are meant to be quick links to key areas of the site or closely related sites, such as a store, so that those familiar with the site can get to where they want to go straight away.

If the added links include all the current categories for the subsite, the Categories link will not be shown.

The Subsite links subsection of the Links section at the bottom of each public page contains links to the more utilitarian pages of a site, such as the Contact page. Up to three custom links can be added before those for other pages that may useful for visitors, such as a mini bios page.

Some major visual linking facilities are available for enhanced discovery of content.

While words can be powerful enough to change peoples' beliefs, they are not as immediately useful for attracting attention as pictures. To facilitate this, Smallsite Design provides:

  1. a.Cards – array of rectangular images with a heading and introduction.
  2. b.Gallery – collage of images.

Cards provide an informative way to help visitors find what they might be interested in. They include a rectangular image, with a heading above and an introduction below. A selection is made by clicking on the heading to go to the target article or category.

While the image is sourced from the target's basic aside, the heading and introduction come from its navigation text (or heading/headline if none) and its introduction. They are two wide for larger viewing areas, but typically single on a phone in portrait mode. There can be up to eight cards in the array. There is a Wide first mode that spreads the first card over the full width with a thick border and larger text, which provides significantly more prominence for a major part of the site.

A gallery is a collage of images from which a visitor can click on one to go to the target article or category. Typically, a target article may provide a larger version of the image, along with a description of what the image relates to.

The images are extracted from the central parts of the target article or category's basic aside image, auto-sized vertically to even heights, shown four wide for larger viewing areas, but lesser on phones in portrait mode. There can be up to 20 images in a gallery.

Both cards and galleries are defined by selecting target articles and categories on the Links page, accessed from the Links to section of the Article head page for a Navigation article, which includes home pages.

Extra links can be defined for each article and subsite to help visitors discover similar content on the site and other sites.

At the bottom of every article, links to Related articles and Related sites can be added. These help discoverability by showing readers more of what they are interested in. They can also be useful for increasing search engine ranking. Links to authoritative sites that have a measurable relevance to the page they are on can enhance the authority of the page. Cross links between articles of a site can enhance the perceived integration of the site. Note that Related articles can include links to categories.

In general, use related links to provide:

  1. a.Further reading for subtopics mentioned in the article.
  2. b.Factual support for assertions made in the article, such as from authoritative sources like government reports or academic theses.
  3. c.Backlinks to the articles for which the current article is providing either of the above.

Each article and subsite can have up to five of each defined. What ends up in each list is whatever are defined by the article, followed by the same from the subsite to make the up maximum of five that can show in each list. For example, if an article defines three links, while its subsite defines four, the resultant list will contain the three article links, followed by the first 5 - 3 = 2 of the subsite links.

Use subsite links sparingly and only for very general topics, and use as many article links for very specifically-related links as possible. If a link target appears in both the article and subsite related links, only the article's one is shown.


Footnotes allow adding extra information without cluttering up the main body of an article.

The types of information suitable for footnotes are:

  1. a.Additional but optional details that expand upon the information in the parent element for those few who might need some extra clarification.
  2. b.Detailed citations and links to source statistics or references.

They can be added to:

  1. a.Introductions
  2. b.Paragraphs
  3. c.List items
  4. d.Table cells.

Footnotes are a single rich-text element, so are not meant for a lot of content. Only two are allowed for each parent. They are placed at the end of an element so that reading of the element is not impeded by clutter. In general, each element they can be attached to should only cover one item in the surrounding thread, so only one footnote should suffice. Sample footnote:[1]

If adding too many footnotes to an article, perhaps consider restructuring it or breaking it up into multiple articles in an overall category. Reading should not require excessive jumping around a page. Footnotes can be put on a spike and inserted or appended as, or replace, any of the elements that they can be attached to.

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