Navigation is one of the most important aspects of any site. Whether the user can find relevant information and whether he wants to return to your website depends on the effectiveness of your site navigation.
How to make website navigation as efficient as possible and what design is right for you? Read on to find all the answers!
1. Horizontal navigation
The top of the screen is the most common location for the main site menu. This type is a horizontal list of site sections usually referred to 1-2 words each. You can create it with the help of graphics or HTML text.
- An ideal solution for the standard screen orientation of most screens;
- Users can easily access all active navigation menu elements at once;
- Ability to expand the list of sections using the drop-down submenus;
- The horizontal menu is located next t the logo and other elements of the header, which makes it more noticeable.
- The horizontal menu at the top of the page takes up lesser space;
- A large number of sections and a volume drop-down menu can overlap important content;
- Adding new menu items may be quite difficult.
2. Vertical navigation
Vertical navigation is useful if your site has a more complete list of sections or longer headlines. Vertical navigation is most commonly located on the left side of a webpage.
- The vertical menu is much easier and more efficiently scanned with the eye;
- You can add many sections to it and rename the old ones;
- Don’t worry about long titles;
- It looks good on any screen.
- In expanded form can overlap content;
- The right side of the screen is more clickable;
- Lower navigation elements are hardly noticeable;
- The menu may accidentally be shortened.
3. Side pop-out menu
The pop-out menu allows the user to navigate not only the main sections of the site but also to many key subsections. It is a good idea for the sites containing a large amount of content because it does not require an extra mouse click.
- It is one of the most compact ways to organize a menu;
- The design can be mobile-friendly, and combined with the hamburger-icon creates a great option for the interface of the mobile website version;
- The hidden menu allows you to make a strong emphasis on the content;
- Convenient access to the menu from anywhere on the site.
- Hidden navigation may make it difficult to access the menu;
- Pop-out menus aren’t always displayed well on mobile devices;
- The expanded menu may cover the content;
- It is sometimes difficult for users to determine which web page they are on;
- Visitors with limited manual dexterity may experience difficulties using it.
4. Landing navigation
Landing is a one-page site with a long scrolling, optimized for specific goals.
- Scrolling is easier and much faster than mouse-clicking – this type of navigation is perfect for news websites, online stores, and sites that update content in real-time;
- Permanent scrolling keeps the visitor’s attention;
- It allows you to post a large amount of visual information;
- It creates a convenient interface for mobile platforms.
- It limits the user’s freedom: it is impossible to control the hierarchy of content and the way the content is presented;
- You wouldn’t be able to use footer;
- It increases server load;
- It reduces SEO performance.
5. Sticky menu
Sticky navigation locks the menu bar to a specific part of the webpage, giving the user constant access to menu options.
- Provides easy and fast access to all sections from anywhere on the site – it is ideal for single-page sites;
- It allows you to strengthen brand awareness with the logo properly fixed in the header;
- It increases the number of pages that were viewed per visit.
- An overloaded and obtrusive header makes web navigation difficult and blocks content;
- The sticky menu can be distracting for visitors who don’t want to be constantly reminded about the darn menu.
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6. Hamburger menu
The hamburger menu helps you to save space on the website. In most cases, it can be opened by clicking on the “hamburger” icon in the corner.
- It allows you to gently hide a lot of items of the menu, at the same time giving the user easy access to them;
- The hamburger icon is accessible from anywhere on the site with one click;
- It allows you to show an unlimited number of options;
- It is perfectly displayed on mobile devices.
- Users find it more difficult to find a hidden menu compared to partially or fully visible one;
- The hamburger menu is an unofficial standard menu on the Android platform, and using it on iOs leads to a violation of the uniformity of the basic elements of site navigation and overloading the navigation bar.
7. Mobile-friendly navigation
Mobile-friendly navigation ensures that your site adapts to the screen format of the device on which it is running. Today, new versions of style sheets (CSS3) allow you to personalize the layout for any screen size.
- Cross-browsing: the ability to adjust the layout of pages for small screens of smartphones and tablets;
- Single URL: you do not need to create a new address for your mobile website version.
- It is focused exclusively on mobile users;
- It can slow down the site loading speed on mobile devices;
- It may be unreadable and overloaded because mobile users, as a rule, use a narrower site functionality;
- Lack of alternatives: in the case of a standalone mobile version, there is always an opportunity to get back to the full website version. The mobile-friendly design does not allow this;
- If navigation is not designed by a professional, it will not always be displayed correctly on different mobile devices.
Mega-menu is an extensive navigation bar that shows up when you hover over the mouse or click on it. The mega-menu does not just structure the content into groups and columns in text format, but also actively uses various visual tools.
- On large sites with multiple categories, all options are shown at once;
- Mega-menu perfectly structures information;
- Mega-menus allow you to visually emphasize the relationship between objects;
- Using the mega-menu, you can easily use pictures and icons to ease the perception;
- These menus show up and hide by hovering or clicking, without affecting the content.
- Usually, the main categories aren’t clickable;
- In some cases, the mega menu can complicate navigation;
- It is difficult to implement on mobile devices.
9. Animated navigation elements
The correct use of animated elements as the main or additional means of navigation allows you to vary the classy design and attract the attention of users.
- Attract users attention;
- Structures menu;
- Improves site usability and guides users;
- It helps create a good first impression.
- Excessive visual congestion makes site navigation difficult;
- Animated effects can annoy regular users;
- It can slow down the site loading speed.