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Ideas for organizing your department pages

avatar of Kira Hartley

Kira Hartley

Last updated

The OC Department content type provides a dedicated page for each department, with information about what they do and how they operate. The fields built into this content type provide a formula for how to enter and present the important details such as contact information, hours and location details. One of the great benefits of the content type are the structured side panel details and a large WYSIWYG area for detailed information about the department.

We've seen many cities and councils use department pages in different ways, particularly cities that need to present extensive information about related services, key figures and contacts, and relevant documents. Many cities have creatively expanded the use of departments, in regards to navigation, with other OpenCities features such as:

Using Featured sections

Featured sections assemble a group of pages, with one parent page. It can give that section of your site a secondary header (in place of the page title), a logo and navigation menu options.

Using Featured sections to separate departments enables you to give that department its own visual identity. A large benefit of using Featured sections for your departments is that the navigation menu for each department automatically updates. Each time you publish a new child page in that section of the site, it will be added to the Featured section's navigation menu.

An example of the use of Featured sections on a department page created by Palo Alto

Palo Alto, California, has made use of Featured sections for their departments. Using Featured sections, they've given each department their own dedicated section with a comprehensive and automatically updating navigation menu. They've also linked the section heading back to the parent department page, so their community can always reorient themselves back to the department's parent page. 

Learn more about how to use Featured sections.

Content Lists

Content lists use labels to organize and list different pages of your site. With department pages, content lists can be used to create a navigation menu, specific to that department.

Content labels and content lists are useful for overall organization, but does require some managing to keep track of which labels are used for what purpose, and which label new pages will need.

An example of the use of content lists on a department page from Orlando

Orlando, Florida, have used content lists to organize and present their departments. They have set their content lists to show the title and summary of any labelled pages, giving the site visitor some insight into what information they will find within the department.

Content lists are a good option to create navigation for the department module because they are customizable and have a few options for how your department page will look. A popular choice is to use a grid of child page links, with either the page title and summary, or the title, summary and image. 

Learn how to build a content list.

Featured links

Featured links are styled links and are used to highlight key links in WYSIWYG content. One other use of Featured links we've seen is to create a navigation menu in the WYSIWYG content of department pages.

They can be used as either the main form of navigation or in addition to the methods outlined above to link to key pages within a department.

An example of the use of Featured links on a department page from Morris County

Morris County, New Jersey, have used Featured links on some of their departments, adding them to the WYSIWYG Editor, below a short introduction to the department. However, they have used them in addition to Featured sections, linking child pages back to the parent department page.

Their navigation works in 3 parts:

  1. Featured links on their department page link out to the child pages
  2. Department child pages use the left-hand navigation menu to navigate within the department
  3. A Featured section heading allows users to get back to the parent department page from the child pages

Featured links are an easy option to create navigation, however, they do require management. You will need to manually update or add any new links, and unlike content lists, they require one more point of editing and can only include the link title.

Learn more about using Featured links.

What else?

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