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Hierarchical navigation, start to finish (HTML)

[ This article is for Windows 8.x and Windows Phone 8.x developers writing Windows Runtime apps. If you’re developing for Windows 10, see the latest documentation ]

Use a hierarchical navigation pattern for your Windows Store app when it's content can be separated into distinct, yet related, sections or categories with varying levels of detail. This is a common and familiar pattern that works well with a relational information architecture, traversed in a preferred sequence or order.

The navigation pattern you choose depends on the scenarios your app supports. If your app provides a variety of experiences and content with organization and structure, a hierarchical pattern is likely most suitable. However, if your app doesn’t have a lot of information density or organizational hierarchy, have a look at the Flat navigation, start to finish, which is intended to let users quickly navigate between a small set of related pages.

Here, we cover how to create a Windows Store app using JavaScript that uses the hierarchical navigation pattern and meets all basic Windows Store certification requirements, from start to finish. This includes:

  • Image resources to expose your app throughout the operating system.
  • App bars to support navigation and commanding.
  • Settings to provide privacy, help, and other app info.
  • Data roaming to sync your app across sessions and devices.
  • Globalization to reach customers in countries and regions around the world.
  • Accessibility to help users accomplish tasks regardless of physical ability and input device.

Here's a basic hierarchical structure alongside a wireframe of the hierarchical navigation pattern in a Windows Store app.

A basic implementation of the hierarchical navigation pattern

Hub, section, and details pages in a Windows Store app


The Windows Library for JavaScript Hub control is designed specifically for this type of app. From general to specific, this control uses hub, section, and item/detail pages to help you tie together a variety of information into an intuitive and consistent structure.

Page Description


The hub is the entry page of your app and is where you can preview the full scope of your app. It showcases one or more sections of content, each with a small sample of items associated with that section. Various criteria (depending on app or user preferences) can be applied to control which sections and items are displayed. Typically, each item will display a preview, summary, or abstract of its content.

From this page, users can navigate to a section or item detail page.

We recommend that you design your hub with a lot of visual variety to engage users and draw them in to the different areas of your app.


Section pages are the second level of an app where a preview, summary, or abstract for items associated with the section are displayed. The items on this page can be displayed in any form that best represents the scenario and content of the section.

Typically, you display more items on this page than on the hub page. Each item links to a detail page.


Detail pages are the third level of an app where most, if not all, content or functionality is displayed for the particular item selected on the hub or section page. Some apps, such as feed readers, might link off to source articles and sites if the content is considered too extensive to display in-app.

Detail pages can contain a lot of information, a single object, such as a picture or video, or other app functionality.


The navigation bar, typically used in flat navigation apps, can also be useful for traversing the content of a hierarchical app. This bar is a transient element that can be revealed at the top edge of the screen when users swipe from the top or bottom edge (right-click with a mouse, Windows Logo Key+Z, or menu key with a keyboard).

Try to build your app such that the content structure itself leads users intuitively through your app without the need for the navigation bar. In cases where this is not possible, use the navigation bar in lieu of the section headers on the hub page and to provide global navigation controls. It should show up on every page and at all levels of the app.

Note  Ensure users can navigate in the reverse order that they navigated to their current page. WinJS provides the BackButton, in conjunction with the PageControl, for this.


Using the correct navigation pattern, along with the appropriate UI layout, helps you eliminate the clutter of persistent controls and lets users focus on the important content in your app.

Hierarchical navigation sample

The basic Hierarchical navigation sample is a starting point for you to fill with your content and experiences. It demonstrates the principles, recommendations, and implementation details discussed here in an app that meets all basic Windows Store certification requirements. As you can see below, the sample includes a hub page with various sections, one data-driven section page (Section 3), and item detail pages for that section. Extend the app with additional pages, as required. See how we put our guidance into practice. Then you can save some time, and use this sample as the foundation for your inspiration!

Sample app showing the hub page

Sample app showing a section page

Sample app showing an item page

Windows Store compliance

The Windows Store is the primary means of distributing Windows Store apps to customers and connecting those customers to as many great apps as possible. Apps in the Store must comply with the Windows and Windows Phone Store Policies.

The companion sample implements the functionality discussed here and the basic requirements of all Windows Store apps to pass certification, including:

  • Splash screen and tile images
  • Full support for touch, mouse, and keyboard input
  • Support for various window sizes, device orientations, and display sizes
  • Roaming and session state
  • Optimized for globalization, localization, and accessibility

As you develop your app, consider the Windows and Windows Phone Store Policies and try to avoid common certification failures.

Implement navigation

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Open the Hierarchical navigation sample or start with the Hub App project template in Visual Studio. If you like, you can review these template overviews:

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Use single-page navigation

Goes into detail about how the PageControl object supports single-page navigation. Adding Page controls explains the various ways they can be implemented.

Find it in the sample: The PageControl is defined in the file \js\navigator.js and used in \pages\home\home.js and \pages\page2\page2.js.


Add UI and images

Specify image resources (visual assets such as splash screen and tile images) for your app on the Application UI tab of the application manifest. To do this, open package.appxmanifest from the Solution Explorer. See Using the Manifest Designer.

Note  The companion app includes placeholder images that meet Windows Store requirements. For demonstration purposes, additional images that support accessibility with varied contrast settings, and localization in French (fr-FR) have been included with the template. Most images are provided at multiple resolutions.


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Choose images to represent your app

Specify images that provide the best experience possible. Include scaled versions for different screen resolutions.

Your app requires a basic set of images to pass store certification.

  • Store logo

    Displayed with your app's listing in search results and with the app's description in the listing page.

  • Logo

    Displayed in the square tile for the app on the Start screen. See Creating tiles and badges and App tiles and badges sample.

  • Small logo

    The small logo appears with your app's display name in search results that are returned on the Start screen. It also appears in the list of searchable apps, and when the Start page is zoomed out.

  • Splash screen

    Displayed when an app is launched, and dismissed as soon as the app is ready for interaction. The splash screen is composed of an image and a background color, both of which can be customized. See Adding a splash screen and Splash screen sample.

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Add file or image resources

Follow these instructions for naming and organizing your file resources in folders.

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Optimize images for different screen resolutions

Create image resources for your app, add them to your project, and identify them in the application manifest.

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Add app bars

Present navigation, commands, and tools to users on demand. The app bar shows commands relevant to the user's context, usually the current page, or the current selection. Customize as required. For a more detailed example, see HTML AppBar control sample.

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Add app settings

Provide access to all settings relevant to the user's current context. Customize as required. See Application settings sample. The companion app includes both a privacy policy and help content that are accessible from the Settings charm.


Roam application data

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Manage app data

Manage application data, including runtime state, user preferences, and other settings. This data is created, read, updated, and deleted when the app is running.

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Roam application data

Keep your app's data and state in sync across multiple devices and reduce setup tasks and repetitive work for the user on their other devices. Windows replicates data to the cloud when it is updated, and synchronizes data to the other devices on which the app is installed.



Be consistent with globalization and make sure your screen shots demonstrate that you've localized your app. Keep in mind that languages are not the same as markets.

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Learn about app resources and localization

Design Windows Store apps so that their resources can be independently maintained and localized, and also customized for different scaling factors, accessibility options, and other user and machine contexts. See Application resources and localization sample.

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Localize the package manifest

Localize your app's display name, description, and other identifying features, which are described in the application manifest.

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Globalize your app

Adapt your software for additional languages, markets, cultures, and regions.


Support accessibility

Declare your app as accessible only if you have specifically engineered and tested it for accessibility scenarios.

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Test your app for accessibility

Discover the accessibility testing tools, included with the Windows Software Development Kit (SDK) for Windows 8, that help you verify the accessibility of your app.

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Declare your app as accessible in the Windows Store

If you have tested your app for accessibility, indicate that by checking the Accessibility checkbox on the Selling details page.


Wrap up

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Certify your app with the Windows App Certification Kit.

Run the Windows App Certification Kit to help ensure your app fulfills Windows Store requirements. Do this whenever you add major functionality to your app.

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You’re done with development tasks and are ready to submit your app to the Store!


Want to know more?

Planning Windows Store apps

Learn more about what experience you want to provide your users.

Design for accessibility

Learn more about the wide range of abilities, disabilities, and preferences of your users.

Design for different form factors

Learn more about handling different devices, input methods, and screen orientations.

Index of UX Guidelines

Browse the full list of user experience guidelines.