Navigation in a Portal

If you offer more than a few portlets within your portal, then you need to think about how people will navigate between and among them. While it is tempting to just let users click the back button until they make it back to the portlet page, this is a highly inefficient method. When you have complete control over the development of the application that the portlet accesses, you should include breadcrumb navigation trails, links to the main sections of the portal site, and links to related portlets.

Information architecture has to be designed for a portal and its application just as in the development of any other Web application. A good navigation scheme within a portal should allow the user to answer each of the following seven questions from anywhere within the portal or its applications.

Seven questions to determine a good navigation scheme:

1. Am I still in the portal?
2. How do I get to the main page of the portal?
3. What are the major areas of this portal?
4. Where am I in relation to the main page of the portal and the other applications I have visited?
5. Where can I go from here?
6. How can I go back to where I came from?
7. When I leave this screen, will I be able to get back to it?

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