Look up! Introducing our new menu

We have introduced a new menu on some ualr.edu websites to enhance the user experience through new features.  You might have questions or feedback — we welcome both on our form.

We’d like to hear from you!

New menu FAQs:

Why is the menu only on certain sites? We wanted to do a soft launch on UALR’s department-level sites first to get feedback before launching on the homepage. This beta testing helps us refine our project with your input. Also, it’s a better transition between phasing out the old and introducing the new.

Where are the links I’m used to? Once we do launch on the homepage, commonly used links will still exist, just tucked away with more features. If you are a student, faculty member, or staff member, you can find the links to your UALR mail, Blackboard, and BOSS in a menu drawer designed  with our campus community in mind. To open the drawer, click (or tap for you tablet users) the icon on the far right that is four bars with a down arrow. Commonly referred to as the hamburger icon, this design represents a menu. Your links still go to the same places.

How did you build this? This project was a team effort that took the talents of our entire staff. We relied on stakeholder interviews, professional assessments, and the support of campus colleagues to create it. On the technical side, we use WordPress as our content management system. The menu was built using HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript, as well as existing WordPress features. It is accessible and adaptable.

What do you mean by adaptable? Adaptive design (or responsive design) means that the website adjusts to fit the screen size through the resizing of elements, rearranging of content, and modification of menus. While the menu itself is adaptable, the sites you see it on are not entirely adaptable. Going entirely responsive is on the road map for our department this coming year.

Why introduce the menu now and not wait for the redesign? While we certainly see the scope of this redesign project as the entire website, we wanted to start with by creating a top menu to feature more audience-specific content. It’s a very literal top-down approach we’ve taken, because we know that the top of the page before the scroll is valuable real estate that needed our attention first.

What we’ve done:

  • introduced a mega-menu with new content wells broken down into two main sections
  • rolled it out on Tier 2 sites (such as this one) in beta mode
  • made sure it was accessible
  • built it to be adaptable

Why this matters:

  • we wanted our audiences (all of them) to be able to find timely and relevant content
  • we needed a new home for our “university business,” i.e., all of those links and tools helpful for us on campus but confusing to outside audiences

The new menu features two distinct areas, one for UALR audiences that includes current students and employees, and another for external audiences such as future students, alumni, and members of the community.

The top area, which is for the campus community, can be accessed from the “lines of text” menu icon to the right of the search box. That opens as a drawer to display links to e-mail, Blackboard, BOSS, and the A-Z Index. The area also includes quick links for commonly visited pages and timely messages or events for employees and students.

The primary navigation area includes content wells: Admissions, Academics, Campus, Connections, Research, and About. Each well opens to display links, featured content, or coming events relevant to each particular area.


Example of navigation fly out.

Example of navigation fly out.

Example of faculty, staff, and students tools drawer.

Example of faculty, staff, and students tools drawer.

Posted in: News, The Redesign Blog

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