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The aim of this document is to introduce the design of Menus and Modules.
There are four aspects to designing a new Joomla! web site. These also apply to planning to make alterations(including upgrading versions J1.5 to J2.5+) to an existing site or planning for transferring a site that already exists in another form into the Joomla! CMS.
Everyone: who is going to create a Joomla! site.
You should already be aware of the vocabulary of Sections, Categories, Articles and Menus from other documents in this series.
Thus Menus and Menu Items are used to create the main navigational links on the pages of the web site. They are not part of the content heirachy in the background. The Menus are themselves a hierachy and there can be confusions between the underlying content organisation of Sections/Categories/Articles and the hierachy of the Menus. Sometimes the Menus reflect the Sections and Categories closely. On other sites the Menus do not exactly match the content structure, so a bit of care is needed here to think about the right things.
The Menus normally reflect the content structure, although there may be occasions when they do not. The key is to avoid muddling Categories and Menus. The Sample data is not helpful here as the list of Menu Items under the Main Menu is the same as the list of Categories. You will find sites where there are Menus that do not relate to a Category. (cross ref if I use the example of Links in the U3A site)
Joomla! adds the Main menu to your site automatically. It already contains a Section for the Front page, so the Main Menu displays the Home page.
Some sites stick to the Main Menu and add a heirachy of Menu Items (as sub-menus) beneath the Main Menu. Other sites use more menus, for example the Sample site uses 6 Menus, each with a few Menu Items (or sub-menus) under them.
Using the Sample web site - if you move away from the Home page, the Login Menu no longer displays. (Mildly irritating - but this can be altered).
picture of menu edit on sample site
picture as menu items on sample site
This is worth knowing about before you think about a site.
There are built-in layouts in Joomla! that take advantage of the organization of content in Sections and Categories. These make it possible to list articles that belong to Sections or Categories. When a new article is created and assigned to a Section and Category, it is automatically placed under a menu.
Category Blog Layout
The Home page on the Sample web site is in Blog layout. Here there is an introductory article across the page and the rest are in two columns. At the end - there is an area for links to older articles that are not listed on the page - More Articles. (This should be in the background article)
(see Category Blog Layout under Help clicked in the Menu Item [New] screen.
Example - sample data - blog mode for the Home page. Also uses the facility to use the whole width of the screen for the first entry. (cross ref to Help screen under - - )
screen of a U3A list - here is makes good use in organising a varied site. Sometimes there are a lot of articles for one menu - others have only a few. the list handles this well.
When you add a new Article to a Section or Category (depending on which one you have chosen), it will automatically show on the page so you do not have to do anything other than add the Article and assign it to the appropriate Section or Category. This also means that you can create Categories specifically for displaying in List or Blog mode.
Note that the position and layouts of Menus can be very varied. This deals with the structure of the Menus. Their appearance is dealt with in the part about the appearance of the whole web site. (Cross-ref.)
It is not difficult to alter the Menus after the site is established so this list can be seen as a starting point. No-one gets it right first time.
Write them down and indicate what sort of Menu, for this will be needed when you create them.
Name the menus
Use names that makes sense to anyone visiting the site - obvious but not always done. The Main menu acts as the Top level for this example.
|Top level||Second level||Type and comment|
|Home||Default blog layout|
|About the Club||Article layout|
|How to join||an article with suitable information|
|Find the club||an article with a map|
|Subscriptions||an article with the list of how much it costs|
|Contacts||an article with a list of contacts and details|
|History of the Club||a blog layout with READ MORE articles|
|Newsletters||a list layout so that more than one newsletter can be seen|
|Add a new Article||Article Submission layout, so that people with the right permissions can add articles|
Modules can seem a bit of a puzzle because you do not actually see them; you just see the effect they have.
Modules are associated with the menus because Joomla! uses Modules to display content on areas of the page other than the main content area. The menus are thus displayed on particular locations on a web page through the positioing of the menu modules. However, for design and set up of a Joomla! site using the default settings from the installation, there is not much need to consider the finer points of modules. You do, however, need to appreciate that there are a number of Site Modules that can be added to enhance the functionality of the web site. To do this - use the Module Manager in the Administrator Back-end.
The Module Manager is found under the menu Extensions > Module Manager
Site Modules are pre-defined Modules that ship with Joomla! and are added to a site as part of the development process . They include some essential things for a new site, including:-
Menu Modules are closely tied to the menu system because each Menu has its own Module. These are created automatically by the system when a new Menu is created. For example, the default in the sample data is that the main menu is assigned to the left of the page.
--Lorna Scammell February 2011