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Navigation elements are meant to help users transition between different areas of the site with relative ease.

This page contains the style guide for navigation and linking within


Left navigation

Left navigation menus provide an easy way for users to navigate within a section of a site.

These menus are applied to individual pages and sections of the IEEE Main Site using the content management system (UCM). In UCM, these menus are approved and created by the Digital Innovations Team to ensure alignment and consistency with the information architecture of the site.

Typically, every page on has a left navigation menu. Contact the Digital Innovations Team if you have questions regarding exceptions.

Guidelines for left navigation menus are as follows:

  • Each navigation menu should contain a header that identifies that this is the section's navigation menu. For example: "Membership Menu."
  • Modules should be composed of up to 15 primary links. All primary links must have a valid destination that aligns with the link text.
  • Each primary link can include up to ten secondary links through expanded navigation.
  • If expanded navigation is used, a minimum of two secondary links should be included with each primary link, and a minimum of two primary links should expand.
  • Avoid "mail to" links in navigation menus by creating a contact page where such links can be found. (If it is unclear by the link name that a mail window will launch, use an alt-tag or screen-tip indicating "mail window will open" or "mail to:").
  • References to the index page of a particular section should not use "Home" as a standalone term. These links should include the name of the specific section (e.g., "Conferences Home," "History Center Home"). "Home" should always link to Other global terms like "Sitemap" and "Contact" should also be modified within the section to indicate the specific information to which they refer.
  • Link text should match the page title of the page it links to.

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Right navigation

This element is optional and can be created either globally (and applied dynamically to all content within a particular directory of the site) or applied to an individual file. Multiple right navigation modules can be created within a page.
There are two types of right column content:
  1. Global right column content: appears on every page within a section. Create/edit this content using the "right_content" tags in UCM to create global content.
  2. Local right column content: appears on one page only. Create/edit this content in the "main_content" region in UCM. 

Guidelines for right column content and navigation menus are as follows: 

  • Right column content should be removable without any impact to page navigation or availability of content.
  • Right column content and navigation is optional for IEEE digital sites and pages.
  • Do not put critical information or links that are central to the purpose of the page in the right column.
  • Do not overuse the right column. Keep the numbers of elements/modules to a minimum so they do not compete with the main page content.
  • Elements should be ordered according to relevance to the page content and purpose.

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Breadcrumb navigation

Breadcrumb links aid users in knowing where they are in the site.

The links should represent the hierarchical order of each section and always take the user through the shortest path to the home page.

In UCM, breadcrumbs are controlled by the Digital Innovations Team.


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Links within page content

Do not hard-code links to other IEEE Main Site pages. Instead, use the Link Wizard feature in UCM to "Link to a section" (for index pages) or "Link to a file" for all other pages and supporting files in UCM.

• Link text: Link text should be concise (approximately 5-7 words). Links to html pages should open in the same browser window.
  - Use plain language; never use "click here," "follow this link," or URL addresses.
  - When appropriate, write action-oriented links that accurately describe the information at the destination page. This includes contact links.
    Use: "Find graphics approved for digital use in the IEEE Graphics Library."
    Not: "Here is a link to IEEE graphics" or "For IEEE graphics, click here."

• Trailing links: Use trailing links, or links set below a block of text, for calls to action.

• Embedded links: Use embedded links (links within paragraphs) only for supplemental information.
  - Embedded links should be used sparingly and should not interfere with the reading of information either on the computer screen or when printed.


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Within-page links

Within-page links should be used for longer pages with sections of content that fall below the fold of the page. These links have the following acceptable uses:

  • Top of page links: links to the top of the page.
  • A table of contents or “On this page” link menu: links to the appropriate sections further down the page.
  • Alphabetical, chronological, or other category lists: you can show the letters of the alphabet across the top of the page and have each letter link to the appropriate place in the list.
  • Frequently asked questions lists (FAQs): you can list the questions at the top of the page and make each question a link that scrolls the page to the associated answer. 

These links should not link to anchors on another page. Within-page links, if used, should follow general link styling guidelines.


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A redirect is a way to send both users and search engines to a different page/URL than the one originally requested. While redirects should be avoided as much as possible, reference the guidelines here to request/create a redirect.

Determining need for redirects:
The following instances may require redirects to be created:

  • specialized print or e-mail campaigns that cannot use long/full-length URLs;
  • when a page is deleted or moved to another location within a site;
  • commonly misspelled URLs (such as instead of;
  • when a page shows a 404 (“Page not found”) message when accessed on the digital platform.

Creating and maintaining effective redirects:

  • Include descriptive and relevant keywords in the redirect URL to ensure better indexing by search engines.
  • Keep redirect URLs as short as possible.
  • Avoid redirecting pages to URLs outside of your site. This will prevent broken redirects if the destination site URLs change.
  • Do not redirect to a moved page. Instead, redirect to the final destination URL.
  • Expired redirects or redirects for non-existent content should be directed to relevant content within a site instead of just to the home page of the site.
  • Redirects should not be expired unless known that users will never access the redirected page.
  • Redirects for expired short-term/campaign URLs should be redirected to relevant content within the site.
  • Periodically review redirects to ensure that they do not point to irrelevant, inactive, or 404 pages. 

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Supporting files

Supporting files supplement the content on your digital pages. Supporting files include PDFs and Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and multimedia files.

Note that when it would better support the tasks of your users, content should be integrated into the HTML pages. Keeping usability in mind, follow these rules for supporting files:   

  • Format: Whenever possible, a use a PDF version of a document to protect the integrity of the document.
  • Notation: When linking to a supporting file, include the file size and type in parentheses. Format should be (TYPE, size). Include the time duration of Windows Media Video (WMV) multimedia files in parentheses as well. (Note: The size of the document can be found under "Properties.") Appropriate abbreviations are: DOC, PDF, XLS, PPT, WMV.
  • Interactivity: All supporting files should open in a new browser window, not the same browser window.
  • Placement: Do not place supporting files in left navigation areas.

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