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4.4.3 The nav element

Categories:
Flow content.
Sectioning content.
Palpable content.
Contexts in which this element can be used:
Where flow content is expected.
Content model:
Flow content.
Content attributes:
Global attributes
DOM interface:
Uses HTMLElement.

The nav element represents a section of a page that links to other pages or to parts within the page: a section with navigation links.

Not all groups of links on a page need to be in a nav element — the element is primarily intended for sections that consist of major navigation blocks. In particular, it is common for footers to have a short list of links to various pages of a site, such as the terms of service, the home page, and a copyright page. The footer element alone is sufficient for such cases; while a nav element can be used in such cases, it is usually unnecessary.

User agents (such as screen readers) that are targeted at users who can benefit from navigation information being omitted in the initial rendering, or who can benefit from navigation information being immediately available, can use this element as a way to determine what content on the page to initially skip and/or provide on request.

In the following example, the page has several places where links are present, but only one of those places is considered a navigation section.

<body>
 <header>
  <h1>Wake up sheeple!</h1>
  <p><a href="news.html">News</a> -
     <a href="blog.html">Blog</a> -
     <a href="forums.html">Forums</a></p>
  <p>Last Modified: 2009-04-01</p>
  <nav>
   <h1>Navigation</h1>
   <ul>
    <li><a href="articles.html">Index of all articles</a></li>
    <li><a href="today.html">Things sheeple need to wake up for today</a></li>
    <li><a href="successes.html">Sheeple we have managed to wake</a></li>
   </ul>
  </nav>
 </header>
 <div>
  <article>
   <header>
    <h1>My Day at the Beach</h1>
   </header>
   <div>
    <p>Today I went to the beach and had a lot of fun.</p>
    ...more content...
   </div>
   <footer>
    <p>Posted <time datetime="2009-10-10">Thursday</time>.</p>
   </footer>
  </article>
  ...more blog posts...
 </div>
 <footer>
  <p>Copyright © 2010 The Example Company
  </p>
  <p><a href="about.html">About</a> -
     <a href="policy.html">Privacy Policy</a> -
     <a href="contact.html">Contact Us</a></p>
 </footer>
</body>

Notice the div elements being used to wrap all the contents of the page other than the header and footer, and all the contents of the blog entry other than its header and footer.

In the following example, there are two nav elements, one for primary navigation around the site, and one for secondary navigation around the page itself.

<body>
 <h1>The Wiki Center Of Exampland</h1>
 <nav>
  <ul>
   <li><a href="/">Home</a></li>
   <li><a href="/events">Current Events</a></li>
   ...more...
  </ul>
 </nav>
 <article>
  <header>
   <h1>Demos in Exampland</h1>
   <p>Written by A. N. Other.</p>
  </header>
  <nav>
   <ul>
    <li><a href="#public">Public demonstrations</a></li>
    <li><a href="#destroy">Demolitions</a></li>
    ...more...
   </ul>
  </nav>
  <div>
   <section id="public">
    <h1>Public demonstrations</h1>
    <p>...more...</p>
   </section>
   <section id="destroy">
    <h1>Demolitions</h1>
    <p>...more...</p>
   </section>
   ...more...
  </div>
  <footer>
   <p><a href="?edit">Edit</a> | <a href="?delete">Delete</a> | <a href="?Rename">Rename</a></p>
  </footer>
 </article>
 <footer>
  <p><small>© copyright 1998 Exampland Emperor</small></p>
 </footer>
</body>

A nav element doesn't have to contain a list, it can contain other kinds of content as well. In this navigation block, links are provided in prose:

<nav>
 <h1>Navigation</h1>
 <p>You are on my home page. To the north lies <a href="/blog">my
 blog</a>, from whence the sounds of battle can be heard. To the east
 you can see a large mountain, upon which many <a
 href="/school">school papers</a> are littered. Far up thus mountain
 you can spy a little figure who appears to be me, desperately
 scribbling a <a href="/school/thesis">thesis</a>.</p>
 <p>To the west are several exits. One fun-looking exit is labeled <a
 href="http://games.example.com/">"games"</a>. Another more
 boring-looking exit is labeled <a
 href="http://isp.example.net/">ISP™</a>.</p>
 <p>To the south lies a dark and dank <a href="/about">contacts
 page</a>. Cobwebs cover its disused entrance, and at one point you
 see a rat run quickly out of the page.</p>
</nav>