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Communities of practice

Side nav



We have launched our initial version of the side navigation on the design system website:


Hi everyone.
I’m now in the process of implementing the side-nav component and have questions. :slight_smile:

Is the menu heading required? According to all the examples on this topics and here ( it seems like it is.

Should the heading be the page title of the section I’m currently on?

I’ve read all the discussion here and thanks for all the consideration, it is not easy task and probably no all-solving solution exist.

I must admit that I like the most the approach from DHS.

The parent page becomes a kind of back button at the top, the children are listed below the content and the siblings are listed below the children.

It make the top of the page more clean. Otherwise there can be four different navigation elements (main menu, breadcrumbs, sidebar menu, inpage navigation) whis is confusing (and bit ugly) even on desktop.


Hey Peter,

I’ll try give you a better reply tomorrow.

The heading is not a requirement, however it is useful in certain circumstances. We see it as a section header for the area of the site you are on.

You can see in the side navigation examples that the active page is “Keeping your tax records”, the section that it is in would be “Lodging your tax return”.

We are hoping to have some full page examples soon that should show how the page template works as a whole.


Thanks for your reply even is quite late at your side of world. :world_map:

I agree about the usefullness of the heading, but I’m glad that it is not a requirement. Now it is clear to me.

Side note: Maybe it can be usefull for the example pages to have some notes about what the item is supposed to be e.g. “Keeping your tax records (active page)”, but it may be misleading to someone as well. I’ll give it more thinking. :wink:


Great point @petrillek, one thing to note is that the side-nav site that you linked is a test page.

We would likely add this additional information to our documentation website.


Note: My bad, I’ve had this drafted for a while and forgot the tab was open :grimacing:


Just as you’ve said, if someone asks for directions and you give them several contradictory ways to get there, they’ll get lost.

What I suggested for Digital Guides in future (not quite our current state) was to cater for lots of connections between related content, in a way that allows the information architecture (IA) to expand. BUT doing so without needing to link everything within a strict hierarchy. Something perhaps like the IA of, granted that Guides users have slightly different goals to Facebook’s.

Primary content groups found in the main nav:

[Articles, videos, tools & resources, careers]

Secondary groups (categories) within the Articles bit:

Something like this would come hand-in-hand with clear content governance and pre-defined content types based on your users’ needs.


Hey friends, we are having some discussion about the side navigation in the context of a page.

Originally through research we decided that keeping the side navigation more muted allows users to focus on the content. Putting the side navigation to the side of the content and making it look like a list was enough information for a user to understand it is a navigation component. We also added borders between certain levels of the navigation to highlight the fact it was a list of links.

During the process we experimented with adding underlines and interactive colours to the side navigation. We decided the text underline with border was too much as there were a lot of lines in the navigation. We also tried using interactive colours in the menu however that highlighted the side navigation in a more prominent way.

Now that the navigation has been released for a while we would love some feedback on:

Does the side navigation in the context of a page feel interactive to a user?