Proposal for a navigation concept

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As this website is a wiki, there natively is no structured/formalized navigation scheme giving access to all of its content. Instead, navigation is realized through

  • the main page
  • (verbose) introductory pages, sometimes bundled to "guides", "tours", etc. (example),
  • (list-styled) navigation pages (example),
  • comprehensive list pages (example),
  • the search box in the upper right corner,
  • categories and other ways to relate connected pages together like tab bars and navigation bars (example),
  • and of course the large number of links contained in the text of most pages.

We organise our navigation by use cases, in contrast to navigation by features. What does that mean? People who visit this wiki want to do something. "Software", for example, is nothing you can do. But you can develop our software or learn how to contribute map data, which requires software. Thus we removed the software link group from the old main page. Now, for example, there is a box "Contribute map data", leading also to related software descriptions.

The main use case groups for the content of this wiki are shown in the following table. Note that this list does not limit what people can write into this wiki. The navigation has to follow the existing content, not vice versa. Obviously, "contribute map data" and "develop our software" both belong to the more general "Contribute to OpenStreetMap". They are listed as separate use case groups, because a big number of pages fall into their scope, what makes them particular important. There are three use case groups with a very big number of related pages, thus they are classified as "primary". The other use case groups are related to a relative small number of pages and thus "secondary". This classification is reflected in the main page layout.

Use case primary /
introductory page(s) navigation page
Learn about OpenStreetMap (its purpose, social structure, used software etc.) secondary About -
Learn how to use OpenStreetMap (get maps, routing, etc.) primary Using OpenStreetMap Use OpenStreetMap
Contribute to OpenStreetMap secondary Getting Involved How to contribute
Contribute map data primary Beginners'_Guide Contribute map data
Develop (with) our software primary Develop -

Main page

Main navigation part of the main page

The main page contains a main navigation part, see also the image on the right. For every primary use case group there is a box. The first attention shall be attracted to the bigger link to an introductory page. The second attention comes to the list below, containing some most important related links (to be discovered by newbies and to be fast accessible for advanced users) followed by a link to the navigation page giving a more comprehensive overview. The secondary use case groups and a help link have much less space, but are still very present on the main page.