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Small headers: Keep them?

Kristina Hoeppner's profile picture
Posts: 3632

10 November 2014, 1:25 PM


Mahara allows for having two different ways to display the header (logo and main navigation menu) when viewing a page:

  • standard: Logo and main navigation menu stay where they always are throughout the rest of the site
  • small headers: logo and navigation menu are reduced and displayed small at the top of the screen.

We are interested in learning whether to continue offering both options or just the standard one. Please see the screenshot for the differences between the two.

Thank you



10 November 2014, 11:49 PM

Hello Kristina,

In the standard, it is true that the logo already takes place, when in fact we want to giver users space to create their things. Therefore I will say that second proposition is better.

But in the second prop (small headers), i see an issue in HCI design, if we decide to have popup menus instead of the traditional tabs menus. Furthermore, with this small headers solution, it looks nice when the user's name is short but it may be different with a long name (e.g. Dominique-Alain Jan or "Joan Miguel Ramon dela Servantes"). In my school we sometimes have very very long name when students are native from Spain, Africa or Arabic countries.

So IMHO I will say that having the choice of both presentation is still important, therefore admins can choose which one to prefer according to their contexts.



Dirk Meyer's profile picture
Posts: 424

14 November 2014, 4:22 PM

I prefer the small headers over standard because of cleaner look and more space. However I never use them because I don't think its good practice to have essentially the  same menu displayed in two different ways. Right now, small headers only work in users' portfolio pages but not for general site navigation. If I go into groups, a  user profile page or other non-user generated pages, its standard menu anyways. From general site settings: "If checked, a small header and site navigation block will be displayed when viewing or editing portfolio pages created by users." I often wondered why 'Seetings' and 'Inbox' , Search users' links are not available in small headers menu. I think they should be. Furthermore, I don't think small headers supports drop down menu.

So, if the small headers menu does not become a full feature alternative to the standard, my vote would be to drop it entirely.

Dirk Meyer's profile picture
Posts: 424

14 November 2014, 4:44 PM

I just wanted to add that the small headers menu is great when using the collection navigation menu.

Kristina Hoeppner's profile picture
Posts: 3632

17 November 2014, 8:25 AM

Hello Dirk,

Thank you very much for your thoughts. Having two different ways of navigating a site and switching between the two as you mention is confusing and hence our question to see what would be the best to do.

Thank you



Keith Landa's profile picture
Posts: 20

17 November 2014, 9:31 AM

We are hosting portfolios for some other campuses, and have done some minimal customization for the different campuses by setting them all up as separate institutions and uploading campus logos for each institution's portfolio pages.

How would the Small Headers option impact this approach to institutional customization?  I assume we can do the same thing, but with small campus logos?

That issue aside, I personally like the more minimal approach for the small headers.

Kristina Hoeppner's profile picture
Posts: 3632

19 November 2014, 7:37 AM

Hello Keith,

Thank you for your thoughts. I had a check and currently, the small headers option only takes the default site logo, but not any custom logo that had been uploaded by an institution. I filed a but for it at but its fixing depends on what we'll do with small headers going forward.

I don't like that the navigation jumps and as Dirk mentioned, the small headers do not have drop-down menus requiring at least 1 click more to get to most of the functionality.




Gordon McLeod's profile picture
Posts: 190

28 November 2014, 10:59 PM


Just adding my 2p worth. I have to say I really like the look of the small headers - it makes the page much cleaner, letting the viewer focus on the content rather than the interface. At the same time I take Dirk's point that without the menu it adds an additional step when navigating. I know from experience that it can be really frustrating having to click on the content or portfolio link just to refresh into a new page with the dropdown menu.

Perhaps a compromise would be to rethink the header layout to have menu navigation but with a display more like the small header layout? An inch of screen real-estate is enormous on a small monitor or mobile device, so anything that pushes these elements out of the way in favour of actual content would get my vote.

Regards, Gordon.

Kristina Hoeppner's profile picture
Posts: 3632

30 November 2014, 5:20 PM

Hello Gordon,

Thank you for your thoughts. On mobile devices though the menu is tucked away in a typical mobile menu - at least when a responsive design is used.

The responses show that we definitely need to do something with the menu. As we are looking into moving to a CSS framework for all things CSS, something clever might come up by itself. If not, we will keep your ideas and thoughts in mind for reworking things when we get to that part of Mahara.

Please keep any other ideas, thoughts, screenshots of navigations that you like etc. coming for inspiration.

Thank you



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