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Navigation

A sound navigation layout offers a high degree of discoverability and feedback, letting users know where they are at all times and ensuring they can easily get to where they want to go.

Usage

Clarity Navigation depends on a specific DOM structure. Consult an appropriate demo to see the code and structure needed for the styles and layout to work. Clarity provides three levels of navigation represented by the following classnames.

  • .header-nav in the application header.
  • .subnav immediately below the header.
  • .sidenav inside the content container. See sidenav.

Designing Navigation Patterns

When establishing your navigation model, consider:

  • The key use cases of your app
  • The proper hierarchy and what belongs in the primary navigation versus what goes in the secondary or lower levels of navigation
  • Whether to orient the navigation horizontally, vertically, or both
  • Whether responsiveness needs to be part of your platform strategy

Using Navigation Components

An image showing the viewport with header container element placement at the top of a viewport. There is a dotted blue line around the header element.

The header is for primary navigation. Benefits of this navigation pattern are:

  • Users often look for navigation in the header.
  • Top-level navigation is kept simple–the recommended number of links is 2 to 4.
  • Navigation does not take real estate away from the content area.

Conversely, the header supports other items (search and setting) and the navigation links might become crowded.

An image showing the viewport with a subnav container element. There is a dotted blue line around the subnav element.

Use the subnav for primary navigation when you need the sidebar for secondary navigation and any of the following apply:

  • You have more links than can fit in the header.
  • The text of your links is too long for the header.
  • You want to limit the header to search and settings.

Sidenav

An image showing the viewport with a sidenav container element placed on the left side of the viewport. There is a dotted blue line around the sidenav element.

Benefits of the sidenav are that it:

  • Is a familiar navigation pattern for users.
  • Accommodates a large number of links, becoming vertically scrollable when content exceeds the view port.
  • Supports progressive disclosure of a hierarchy.
  • Supports categorization of links.

Conversely, the sidenav takes real estate away from the content area. Also, on mobile, the hierarchy within the sidenav should be kept to a minimum.

Combining Navigation Types

Header + Sidenav

An image showing the viewport with a sidenav container element placed under the header and on the left side of the viewport. There is a dotted blue line around the both the sidenav element and the header element.

A common pattern for two levels of navigation. The primary navigation is in the header, secondary in the sidenav.

Header + Subnav

An image showing the viewport with a subnav container element placed under the header. There is a dotted blue line around the both the subnav element and the header element.

Because both patterns are horizontal, use this combination only when the secondary navigation does not warrant the space taken up by the sidenav.

An image showing the viewport with a sidenav container element underneath a subnav container element. There is a dotted blue line around the both the subnav container element and the sidenav container element.

Use the subnav for primary navigation when the links do not fit in the header.

Header, subnav and sidenav

An image showing the viewport with a sidenav container element underneath a subnav container element and the subnav container element is under the header container. There is a dotted blue line around the the subnav container element, the sidenav container element and the header container element.

This schema will not result in a clear visual hierarchy because of the adjacent horizontal patterns. An alternative is to use the header and sidenav and then provide further navigation in the content area by using tabs.

Types

Clarity has three navigation components: header, subnav, and sidenav. Following are the possible combinations of navigation.

Header + Subnav

When Header is the primary navigation and subnav is the secondary navigation combine the Header component with the subnav component using the DOM structure shown in code examples.

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Header + Sidenav

When header is the primary navigation and sidenav is the secondary navigation combine the Header component with the sidenav component using the DOM structure shown in code examples.

Header

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Header

When there are only a few locations for users to navigate to use a header as the sole navigation element between pages.

Content Area

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Sidnav

When there are more links that can fit into the header or a subnav consider using the sidnav only and combining the navigation into organized groups of locations.

Content Area

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When top level locations have child navigation locations combine subnav with side nav elements specific to each top level location.

Content Area

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Behavior

Responsive

Note: Responsive navigation requires you to use the following Angular components to build the layout of your application:

  • clr-main-container
  • clr-header

Clarity supports responsive navigation as follows:

  • Up to two levels of navigation can be made responsive.
  • Responsiveness is triggered below the 768px breakpoint by adding the clr-nav-level input to the navigation level.
  • A clr-nav-level value of 1 is for primary navigation and 2 is for secondary navigation.
  • On small screens:
    • The hamburger icon appears on the left of the header and triggers the primary navigation
    • The overflow icon appears on the right and triggers the secondary navigation
Although three levels of navigation make sense on large screens, this number of levels becomes hard to navigate on smaller screens. Clarity recommends that applications for tablets and phones are not exact replicas of the desktop versions, but rather a different, simplified experience.

Screen Size

Large Screens
Large Screen Navigation
Small Screens