Canada.ca Content and Information Architecture Specification
This is a design manual that provides user-tested templates, navigation and information architecture models for presenting and organizing content for Canada.ca.
Use it with the Canada.ca Content Style Guide when you're developing content.
You are required under the Directive on the Management of Communications to follow this manual and the previously mentioned style guide for online content.
The concepts and rules are regularly updated based upon the results of ongoing usability testing cycles.
Revised: October 5, 2017
Table of contents
Summary of changes
Here are the changes we made to this version of the specification.
- improved readability of Design principles for Canada.ca section
- reorganized Conceptual overview of user navigation and key templates section
- replaced "user IA" and "IA" with "user navigation model", where appropriate
- improved presentation of layout and detailed specifications
- clarified proper use for all templates
Headers, footers and navigation
- renamed this section (formerly "site navigation systems")
- clarified guidance on exceptions to global header and footer navigation
- search field can now be omitted from the global header in transactional scenarios.
- not all steps/links necessarily have to be numbered when using the ordered multi-page navigation pattern
- updated the "share this page" button in the main content footer section to clarify that it is optional throughout the site. This was also updated in the transactional scenarios section
- major updates made to the breadcrumb trail section
Templates and detailed specifications
- updated topic pages to increase flexibility of the template
- updated institutional and organizational profiles to increase flexibility of the templates
- removed related services component from the institutional profile page
- updated service initiation pages to combine the simple and advanced templates into a single template with optional components
- updated the institutional service performance reporting pages to make the template more flexible
- removed the consultations landing page, as it provided no value to users – links to the consultations collection will instead lead directly to the consultations finder
- removed the consultations finder, as the consultations will be moving to a new platform this year that will not support the finder. A new design will be developed for a faceted consultations finder more in line with the other finders in the open government section
- updated the consultation profile page template to address what we learned in usability testing
- simplified the guidance for campaign and promotional events page templates
- changed related services component to most requested component on the partnering and collaborative arrangement profile page
Common design patterns
- updated the images pattern with more detail on appropriate use
- updated the guidance around promotional feature tiles and the use of text inside imagery
- added a new collapsible content pattern to clarify appropriate use of the details-summary element
- added a new multimedia pattern for embedding video and audio on Canada.ca pages
- updated contact information section to remove the rule specifying that the heading is an H3
- added a new disclaimer overlay pattern to provide guidance on treating disclaimers
- added a new interactive questions pattern to provide guidance on treating eligibility criteria, compliance requirements and similar content
- updated the most requested pattern to clarify appropriate use
- added a new institutional byline pattern by removing repeated mentions from individual templates
- removed the "show more services and information" common design pattern completely, and from the topic pages, IPs, OPs, and PCAPs specifically
- changed to the rules governing the "What we are doing" section
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