Top Navigation - Navigation Menu too long to display

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Top Navigation - Navigation Menu too long to display

Postby DigitalScribeNZ on Thu Sep 22, 2016 8:20 pm

I'm wondering how others have dealt with large projects, with nav menus that go up to 8 levels deep, with a lot of topics in each level. I find when drilling down through the menus that some items are not displayed, as the current topic dictates the size of the menu items displayed.

Does anybody have a work around?

I've tried adding books in the TOC with A-F and G-M and M-Z etc but the same issue is faced when opening that book; there are too many topics to display. I've spoken to MadCap Support who have advised asking the forum users as one of you may have a work around in place!
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Re: Top Navigation - Navigation Menu too long to display

Postby RamonS on Fri Sep 23, 2016 5:35 am

From what I read in discussions on this forum, top nav is not working out for projects with many levels (as you already found out). I do not know of a direct solution, other than flattening the structure or not using top nav. I suggest you look into flattening of the structure, eight levels deep is a lot for any navigation, menu, or tree.
It all depends on how your help is built. Maybe applying a DITA approach might help. In case you are not familiar with that, in the DITA mindset topics are categorized into three groups
-Task topics: how do I do something...typically step by step instructions for a process or feature
- Concept topics: what is this about...that would be introductory topics that describe an area, page, or feature in the application
- Reference topics: anything else that is not a task or concept, such as lookup lists, explanations of error messages, sample report output, etc

The concept topics lend themselves well to be associated with main entries (means a book in the ToC), with task and reference topics associated with that area below. That should work well if there is not that much interaction between the various areas in the application.
I have also seen structures where task, concept, and reference are the only three top level entries (with better names, such as "How do I....?" for tasks) and then all the applicable topics below with maybe an extra level to give some better orientation as to which topics belong to what area or feature.
With that in place you should be able to reduce the levels down to four at most, even if it ends up being five for very feature rich, complex areas. That will still be three levels less than what you have now and might just make top nav a suitable option again.
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Re: Top Navigation - Navigation Menu too long to display

Postby Dave Lee on Fri Sep 23, 2016 6:22 am

If you look at Flare's help, you'll see the drop down menu at the top just has two levels - i.e. each top-level item has a drop down.
So the top nav menu isn't used for any deep navigation; to get to lower level topics, you first open a top-level topic, and then use the context-sensitive menu proxy (on the right).

So instead of trying to display 8 levels in the top nav, can you display fewer menu levels, and instead use the menu proxy for navigation?

Otherwise, if you have a very large TOC, and browsing the TOC is important; then you might find the tripane skin is more suitable than top nav.
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