Provide more than one way to locate a page

Examples of different ways to locate a page - site directory, search, and featured pages
Image description: 3 phone screens showing 3 different ways to locate the French toast page, which is highlighted in all of them. The purple phone shows a site directory, with navigation that says, "(heading) Breakfast. Crepes, French toast, Pancakes, Scrambled eggs. (heading) Lunch. (heading) Dinner. (heading) Dessert." The yellow phone shows a search page, where the user started typing out "Fren" and 3 results popped up, "French toast, French beans, French snails." The turquoise phone shows a "Featured food" page, with 2 cards, “Meatballs” and “French toast.”

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Why This is Important

Providing multiple ways to find a page is accessible to people with a diversity of disabilities because it meets their multiple needs and preferences.

Blind and visually impaired people use screen readers to interact with websites and apps. A screen reader is a type of assistive tech that converts things on screen to audio and/or braille. It's important that things are understandable and interactive to screen readers.

Keyboard accessibility is essential for people who do not use a computer mouse (which might be because they have unpredictable or very specific movement due to a motor disability). Many Blind and visually impaired people also use keyboard interactions in order to use their screen reader.

Error support is accessible to people with a diversity of disabilities. A cognitive disability might affect how a person perceives and understands things. A physical disability might lead to unpredictable movement. Other factors such as environment, stress, and multi-tasking may also lead to errors.

In order to be accessible, gestures and interactions must account for people with physical and motor disabilities, who might have unpredictable or very specific movement.

People might prefer different ways to find a page - whether it’s by searching for it, using a site map, footer navigation, etc. This may be because they find that method easier to understand, more accessible to their assistive tech, faster to use, or some other personal preference.

The exception to this rule is if that page is located in a result or step in a process (such as a success confirmation page).

This references WCAG criterion 2.4.5 Multiple Ways (Level AA).

Level AAA compliance is considered more difficult to meet because it requires more resources to fulfill. It also might encompass conflicting access needs (meaning what is accessible to some might be inaccessible to others). Use your best judgment of your target audience and your team's capabilities to determine if this is a pragmatic goal to reach.

How to Implement This

There are multiple different options for navigation, any number of which you can use. Here is a list of options from UX Planet:

  • Global Navigation - the highest level of navigation. This usually appears on the top of each page (such as the header of this website).
  • Local Navigation - this is a set of pages within one page. This often appears under settings.
  • Contextual Navigation - this is a set of related content (such as a section labeled, “You might also like…” or “Related Items”)
  • Search - offers users the ability to search for an item
  • Sitemap - presents the top few levels of pages in a list, helping people understand the overall structure from a broad perspective
  • Index - a complete, flat list of content
  • Guide - a guided experience that presents content in a curated way
  • Social navigation - a way to discover content based on its popularity on a social network site
  • Personalized navigation - a way to discover content being curated by the site’s recommendation engine (which applies artificial intelligence (AI) to monitor your activity and learn your habits)
  • Customizable navigation - this allows for the user to control how their navigation appears (such as music playlist name and order)

Choose at least more than one way for people to find content and implement it on your site.

Interesting Further Reading

How to Test This

Manual Test
Semi-Automated Test
Automated Test

Interact with the website/app and make note of the different ways available to locate a page (such as search, a site map, global navigation, etc.)


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