Custom Navigation Menus

Tabbed Topics

Click on the image to view the demo

The design of this custom navigation menu includes tabs with ‘Hover’, ‘Selected’ and ‘Complete’ states.  Once the learner has visited and completed each of the topics, their progress is reflected in the states of the topic tabs on the home page using True/False variables and conditions.  I also used button sets for the tabs, which means that ‘Selected” states are automatically created and the learner can only select one tab at a time.  The benefit of button sets is that all the relevant logistic are set up in the background, so there’s no need to spend time creating your own variables that change the state of each button when another button is clicked.

The navigation in this design is open for the learner to visit or revisit any of the topics at any stage, even once they have been completed.  In contrast to a linear type navigation, this design gives learners more control over their own learning.  However, it could just as easily be locked down using an initial Disabled state on each topic tab, with a trigger set to change the state when the previous topic has been viewed.


Tabbed Modules and Topics

Click on the image to view the demo

I originally designed this template for a client who wanted to turn a published book into an online course.  There were several modules (I’ve reduced this number to five for the purposes of this screenshot) and each module had up to seven topics.

The challenge for this design was to develop navigation via tabs so learners could navigate to any module from any screen after the introductory pages.  I originally had a a series of icons incorporated into the design sitting along the bottom of each screen, which I’ve removed for these screenshots.  These were navigational aids to pages such as “Home”, “Resources”, “Glossary”, etc.

As I have already put a lot of work into this design, I thought it might be worthwhile picking it up again and using it as the basis for developing a notebook theme template.


The original design was based on the client’s website and the colour theme was based on a pantone colour swatch provided by the client.

I’ve decided to change the colour theme for this new template and go for something completely different.

When I start a project, if there are no specific requirements from the client, I usually seek inspiration for a colour theme from images.  I have a growing folder of images that I visit for this purpose, some for colour inspiration and others for design inspiration.  Choosing from this inspiration folder is my favourite part of the project!

I’ve decided on this image as the inspiration for the colour theme for this new design.  I use Adobe Colour CC (formerly Adobe Kuler) to generate the exact colours from an image.  Once you’ve uploaded your picture to the Adobe Colour CC site, the colour theme is automatically generated.  You can choose from a range of options – here I’ve generated three colour palettes – Dark, Colourful and Muted.


For the flat design aspect of this project, I used the original shapes in the template as a starting point, but then sought inspiration from a number of flat design-type images.


Whilst this is a “flat design”, I’ve chosen to use a pattern fill for the slide background and the notebook cover.  These are formatted in the Slide Master.

2015-02-03_11-26-21        2015-02-03_11-19-17

I also used this subtle paper texture image to fill the blank pages.  I designed the rings for the notebook by starting with a single shape, then grouping a number of these together.  I then saved the group of shapes out and inserted it back into the slides as a picture,which makes it much easier to work with.

paper_texture_10     2015-02-03_11-38-52              BinderRings

Navigation between the slides is via icons along the bottom of the slides – and also by clicking on the module or topic tabs. I set up a “next page” navigation with a folded page image at the bottom right corner of some pages.  I added an indicator at the bottom left of the screen to indicate which module is being viewed, as all screens are exactly alike – although obviously the generic “Topic” label would be replaced with the actual name of the topic in the module.

This flat design template allows free navigation to any of the modules or topics in the course and includes a Resources (or Glossary) page and Course Menu accessible via icons at the bottom of each slide, with the page then appearing as light boxed slides.


Click on the image to view the demo

This design was developed in response to a challenge to “design a navigation menu for use on a mobile phone or tablet”.

One of the main challenges in this design was to make look and feel of the app-style navigation similar to how an app works.

I’ve revisited the design to create an alternative colour scheme (based on the Pantone colour of the year) and refined the navigation a little.

Click on the image to view the demo

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