Chris Coyier recently posted an article about using lists in navgiation on CSS Tricks. I tend to agree that they’re unnecessary. The first time I built a menu with a nav wrapping a ul wrapping a bunch of li‘s wrapping a bunch of a‘s it felt gross, but I did it because I thought that was easier for screen readers to understand.

I just redesigned my site and decided that I wanted a simpler structure for my menu this time. Since WordPress builds menus in lists, I created a custom walker class for wp_nav_menu that formats the menu the way I want.

That looks like a lot. It’s mostly just a copy of the Walker_Nav_Menu class with a few things changed:

  • Change the default container to ”
  • Change the default wrapping element to nav instead of ul
  • Disable a fallback1
  • Change the sub-menu element to div instead of ul
  • Remove the li wrapping each link
  • Put the id and class‘s that would normally go on the li on the a instead.

Of course, you have to tell your nav menu to use this walker. Since this disables the fallback if you don’t have a menu set, you’ll have to specify a menu.


  1. Unfortunately the fallbacks generally aren’t compatible with custom walkers — at least not the same custom walker that can be used for wp_nav_menu