Based on research with core audiences, visitor data analysis, and user testing, OSC has developed these sample menus to help guide web content efforts. Each sample navigation menu is tied to the primary audience it serves.  

Though site owners and editors are welcome to use the navigation guidelines as listed below, it is not required. These are meant to provide a starting point for those looking to streamline or focus their web content according to best practices and current UIowa digital strategy. Every unit can add or subtract pages based on their needs. Limiting menu sections to five or less sub-pages is recommended for the sake of mobile users. Large menus can overwhelm small screens and become confusing to navigate. 


Prospective students/families 

Content priorities: Areas of study, cost/aid, admissions next steps, contact information 

Top-level page titles Summary

Areas of Study
-Undergraduate Programs
-Graduate Programs
-Doctoral Programs
-Professional Programs
-Distance and Online
-Areas of Leadership

Focus groups and visitor data have strongly suggested that the first questions students seek to answer when considering a college is, “Do they have my major?” This section serves to immediately address this question. 
Admissions  "Admissions” is an industry-standard substitute term for “how to apply”. Prospective students recognize this as the place to find program requirements, find next steps, and start their application. This section puts your ideal conversion goal in a central place (in addition to prominent calls-to-action links).  
Cost and Aid  Audience research demonstrates that, once they’ve determined that a school offers their desired major, the very next concern is cost. This section can be used to highlight program/department-specific scholarships and other resources and direct visitors to further relevant information.

-Colleges or Departments 
-Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion 

This section captures key rankings, distinctions, and other unit-level messaging that may not be reflected in other content. Longer-form background about your unit that may not serve program-focused pages can be a strong fit for sections like these. Visitors are accustomed to scanning “About” sections of sites for broader information.  
Research  This page presents an opportunity to highlight key academic research highlights and institutes. Content will be most effective when appealing to prospective students, framing research as a valuable part of the academic experience at Iowa.  


This section provides prospective students (and all audiences) with a list of relevant contacts and bios. This doesn’t play a large role in student recruitment, which is why it’s placed deeper in the menu structure.  
News This is an optional opportunity to feature a unit-specific blog or other news content, or serve a link to content hosted on other sites.  



Calls-to-action (CTAs) are prominent, easily findable links that drive visitors towards engaging with your site. Button text should reflect the goals of your site and use active verbs to guide the audience. CTAs should be prominently displayed on every page, whether in the site’s top bar or at the top (and potentially bottom, on longer pages) of body content.  
Prospective student CTAs: Visit campus, Request info, Apply 

Prospective faculty/staff

Content priorities: job opportunities, culture and resources, funding and support for research 

Top-level page titles Summary


Surveys of faculty at other institutions suggest that their top priorities in choosing a place of work are “opportunities to work with leading peers” and “a culture that supports research”. This menu is focused accordingly, beginning with an opportunity to highlight notable accomplishments through on-page content, provide background into your unit’s work, and feature the faculty members that led those achievements. 

-Key Areas 

This section elaborates on the previous one, specifically featuring the areas of research encompassed by your unit. This creates a direct opportunity for recruitment, leading visitors directly from interest in your areas of inquiry toward what opportunities may be available in those areas.  


This can serve two functions: A) Provide a contact point/guidance for those seeking to support your unit and B) illustrate the sources of funding for prospective faculty or partners. Doing both together can help recruitment prospects feel as if their work will be supported, but also that your unit still actively pursues further support.  
-Iowa Now 
Optional opportunity to feature research highlights, a unit-level blog, or other content hosted on UIowa content sites.  


Calls-to-action: Work at Iowa, Donate, Contact us 

Alumni, friends, prospective donors 

Content priorities: connections to community through publications, events, and groups; opportunities to support, impact of donations/giving 

Top-level page titles Summary


The primary goal of engagement with Alumni is to drive giving and other forms of support, but the audience is seeking connection to the Hawkeye community. This section is meant to highlight those paths to supporting Iowa, demonstrate the impact of alumni donors, and help visitors feel like vital supporters of the University of Iowa’s mission (as they are).  
Publications  One of the most common ways that alumni stay connected with their alma mater is through engagement with alumni-focused publications. This section gathers those resources into one menu, allowing them to easily find all existing resources published by your unit.  

-Alumni organizations 
-Social media 
-Hawkeye fan events 

This section gathers all of the local and virtual resources (local organization chapters, social media accounts, Hawkeye fan venues, etc.) visitors can use to stay connected the Hawkeye community in one place. Sub-pages listed are examples, only.  


Features list of key leadership/faculty/staff, mission-oriented storytelling, and detailed reports that may have been referenced in “Impact” section above.  
News  Optional opportunity to highlight major milestones, impact of giving, and other news items or reference relevant content hosted on other UIowa content sites.  


Call-to-action: Give   
Secondary: Connect (social links or link to news/publication archive)

Current students, faculty, and staff 

The many sites and applications at Iowa that serve a primarily internal audience (current students and employees) each have their own distinct goals, functions, and provided resources. Instead of consulting a uniform template, units that fit this framework are encouraged to consider the following questions when developing content.  

  1. What is/are the key reason(s) for someone to visit our site? 
  2. What content, functions, and other resources best help them achieve their goals? 
  3. How can we provide the most streamlined, clear path to that core content for visitors? 
  4. How can we learn from our audience and refine content according to their needs? 

This exercise helps maintain focus on the most important function of your site or app: serving your audience.