The main menu is the blueprint of your app. How you sort content in the menu is critical to how your users experience and interact with your platform. Each user has different needs when using the platform, which means there is no perfect menu structure. But there are many ways to tailor your app to a broad number of users. An intuitive hierarchy and clear labeling are two of the most important aspects of making your platform user-friendly and accessible for as many users as possible.
The Staffbase platform allows for a variety of menu customizations, such as:
- Different menu layouts
- Customizable titles and icons for menu items
- Content visibility based on device type
- Content visibility based on user groups and spaces
Menu Structures for Web Apps
The web app offers ample space for menu items. The menu items, which can consist of pages, news channels, plugins, and folders, are paired with an icon that displays directly in the menu. Depending on how you wish to organize your contents, Staffbase offers two options for presenting the main menu for your platform:
Standard Vertical Menu:
This menu displays vertically on the side of the web app interface. The menu path can be configured to hold up to 5 levels of depth. This menu structure works well for a variety of business cases, such as for organizations using their employee app as a news and communication channel, as well as others.
The vertical menu is an elegant solution that also simplifies the administrator’s task of visualizing how the menu will look for different users. While advanced visibility settings will cause the final output to look different for different users and on different device types, the similar structure between the Experience Studio and user interface give the administrator a lot of guidance. Similarly, the parallel structures in the web and mobile app interfaces, make it easy for a user to find their way around when switching from web to mobile app.
The horizontal menu, often referred to as top-navigation, displays horizontally along the top of the page and allows up to 3 layers of flyout menus. Flyouts can be advantageous, as it allows users to see longer menu paths without having to click through numerous folders. The horizontal menu is ideal for organizations looking to use the Staffbase web app as an intranet solution or to integrate services, such as HR processes or access to 3rd party tools.
Despite the horizontal output on web apps, menu structuring in the Experience Studio and on mobile apps is displayed in a vertical format. Although this can cause visualizing how the menu will look for users with different device types to be quite complex, the different menu structure helps bring users the optimal app experience according to the device they are using.
Menu Structure for Mobile Apps
Regardless of whether you have opted for the vertical or horizontal menu for your web app, the menu on mobile apps always opens on the side of the mobile screen in a vertical format. Keep in mind that the menu space on mobile devices is much more limited than on a laptop or desktop screen, so menu items for the mobile app menu must be selected more judiciously and according to the different needs of mobile users.
This is possible using visibility settings that are based on device type. For each menu item, you can select on which types of devices it should display. You can deselect the mobile option to start decluttering the mobile menu.
Decluttering the Mobile Menu
Pinpoint what the essential functions are for mobile users at your organization and give them priority on the mobile menu. Think about the types of information mobile users need. For example:
- Do your users need access to their shift plans in the app?
- Do they rely on the accessibility of contact information on-the-go?
- Or the ability to receive quick feedback from coworkers on Chat?
Another tip for tailoring your mobile menu is to remove access to desktop applications. For example, removing links to programs that are not supported on mobile devices or tasks and documents that are difficult to access on a mobile device brings a whole new ease to navigation.
Your menu does not stand alone. The Staffbase platform offers a variety of other features that support your menu and act as shortcuts. Supplementing your menu with any of these additional features, each of which can be targeted to specific user groups, can help distribute content, take some of the content load off the menu, and help your users reach frequently used tools quickly.
Using widgets, such as the Link List widget, Link Tiles widget, and Portfolio widget, on your start page or specific landing pages distributes content that might otherwise overload the menu. These are ideal for providing quick access to an assortment of links and content in an appealing and easy-to-navigate manner. They can also be used to display, for example, the top-used quick links or to cluster categories, such as departmental topics.
The Launchpad is a great tool for clustering all third party apps. By placing all links to external tools in the launchpad, users will associate the launchpad as a springboard to jump out of the employee app and into a different application. Launchpad apps are sorted based on each employee’s usage, which gives it an especially personal touch. The highly customizable Launchpad can also be tailored to mobile and web apps, so that users will only see apps available for the device type they are using.
The Quick Links Navigation bar for mobile devices is displayed at the bottom of the screen and allows you to define up to 5 links. This allows users to reach frequently-used functions in the app with just one click.
Best Practices for Getting Started
The best navigation structure will vary from organization to organization, but a few of our best practices can help you get started on the right path.
- Choose no more than 8 topics for top-level navigation.
- Keep work-related and social content separated.
- Reduce overlap in content, so that users do not have to guess under which menu item they’ll find information.
- Test your menu structure with workshops and/or user tests before implementing.
- Keep testing your menu structure to make sure your employee app evolves with your organization.
Contact your Customer Success Manager for more tailored guidance on how to find the best possible menu structure for your organization.