Right now, I’m reading the latest edition of Rosenfeld and Morville’s legendary Information Architecture for the World Wide Web and there’s a entire chapter on “labeling,” which is trickier than you think.
Essentially, you have to figure out what everyone is going to think is behind the link labels you put in your navigation. Since navigation has to be compact and brief by nature, it can be tough. For in instance, I would personally think “libraries” would be under “Campus and Community,” but looking under this navigation, it’s easy to pick up that it’s under “Learning and Teaching.”
What Seattle University has done here is let users peek inside a section, by having sublinks to the most important information in those sections. And in all of this, they’ve kept it nice and compact — looking at the section heading, you can’t help but read the sublinks, which gives you some great insight into what’s in the section.
It looks good, and it works. And I’m going to blatantly steal it someday.