The UX team has conducted several usability sessions to measure the utility of the website navigation. The navigation is a cornerstone feature of any site. It reflects the structure of the site, and is a first indicator of how easy or hard a site will be to use.

What we know

  • The navigation is heavily used by our most loyal audience.
  • Almost all of the engagement with the navigation is done the homepage.
  • Readers who seek out specific topical information have trusted sites for that content.
  • Most non-subscribers come to the site to browse current headlines and are unlikely to engage with a topical navigation list.

UX and Design Challenges

We needed to design a navigation strategy that gave our loyal audience the full set of topical links, while also engaging users who prefer to browse current or popular headlines to stay up-to-date.

We used several methodologies to inform the strategy, including analytic research, card sorting, task-based user testing and competitor testing.

The concept we tested with users involved two displays: A homepage navigation, that offers links to the top-level sections in the site's hierarchy, and a set of links from the story page with a more general set of options.

UX Highlights

  • Access to the top-level sections display across the top of the page, where they are most available to users.
  • The ‘full menu’ opens to give users all sections as well as access the other services available on the site.
  • The ‘full menu’ button is consistent across the site and devices, so users always have access to the full navigation.
  • We replaced an expanding menu with static links that solved several usability issues, especially with users on mobile devices.
  • Users can view all the second-level options from the subject section pages.
  • Users who want to explore a topic more deeply have better access to sub-topics.
  • We know the traditional navigation is largely unused from article pages.
  • Story page options are focused on current headlines, instead of topic information.
  • User testing indicates this has a better chance of engagement over traditional models.

This project is still in development.