Modern SharePoint Sites navigation options

4 min Blog Robert Schouten

Communication Site navigation

With the introduction of Modern Team Sites, Communication Sites and the possibility to add Modern Pages to the ‘old’ Classic sites within Office 365—Microsoft started a whole new concept of EnterPrice Content Management (ECM). Sites look gorgeous and are responsive by design. Pages can be created and edited in a much more friendly way. The different kind of Modern Sites all have its own purpose, but also introduce different ways for navigating through the site. This blog post will discuss the different navigation options.

When you create a new Communication Site—top navigation is added to the site by default. Technically the top navigation is the local navigation of the site (quick launch). No left side navigation option is available on the pages you create. The top navigation is a static list of headers and sub links and can have two levels. When new pages are added to the site—no new item for this page is added to the navigation. So maintaining the navigation is a manual action.

When you navigate to the site settings page, there is a site setting called ‘Quick launch’ where you can maintain the navigation. This can also be done through the ‘Edit’ button next to the navigation items on a page.

Modern Team Site navigation

When you create a new Modern Team Site—an Office 365 Group connected site—only left side navigation (quick launch) is added to the site by default. This left side navigation is also a static list of headers and sub links and can have two levels.

When you navigate to the site settings page, you will see two settings. The same ‘Quick launch’ option as with Communication Sites and the setting ‘Navigation Elements’. This ‘Navigation Elements’ setting will give you the option to enable the Quick launch or not.

Disabling the Quick Launch option will hide the left side navigation. The left side navigation space is still there, so you don’t get a full width page option with this.

Classic Site navigation

When you enable Modern pages on a Classic SharePoint Site—as described in my previous blog post—you will get the same navigation as on those Modern pages as configured in the Classic SharePoint Site. So if you activated the publishing infrastructure feature on your site and use structured navigation for instance—this will be reflected on your Modern pages. So it is possible to have both top navigation as left side navigation (Quick Launch).

Classic Site navigation on a Classic page configured using publishing infrastructure

The same navigation is reflected on a Modern page resulting in top and left side navigation

Hub sites (announced) navigation

At Ignite 2017 in Orlando Florida—Microsoft announced a new building block of the intranet on organising sites. This will become available to Office 365 First Release customers in the first half of calendar year 2018. With the so called Hub sites—you can associate multiple team sites and communication sites to organize concepts, teams, divisions, or resources throughout your businesses.

A hub site brings consistency across sites from the top down. When a team site or communication site is associated to a hub site, it inherits common characteristics, including:

  • Navigation – Define top navigation in the hub site that is inherited by associated sites.
  • Theme – Define the look and feel of the hub site, and that theme remains consistent across associated sites.
  • Logo – The top navigation of the hub site contains a logo and will be available in all associated sites. So you know in which hub you are.

Hub site with associated Team and Communication sites

As stated above—Hub sites will define a top navigation which is inherited by associated sites. This means your Communication and Modern Team sites will get an extra top navigation available.

Summary

With the new Modern sites—the available navigation options defer per type of site you choose. With Communication sites you only have a top navigation. On Modern Team sites you only have a left side navigation. When you activate Modern pages on a Classic site, the navigation options configured within the Classic site are used. This can lead to a top navigation and left side navigation. With the announced Hub sites in 2018—we get an extra top navigation. This top navigation is consistent and available within all associated sites.

So what do you think about the different navigation options? Please let me know by sending me an email robert.schouten@wortell.nl.

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