Servage Magazine

Information about YOUR hosting company – where we give you a clear picture of what we think and do!

When to and not-to use vertical navigation elements

Thursday, May 16th, 2013 by Servage

In the beginning stage of web designing vertical menu was a trend and freely used in all circumstances. There were one or two level deep navigation systems prevailing in the market. Therefore, vertical navigation was serving the purposes.

However, vertical menu is not obsolete and very few web designers are going to use vertical menu in their modern style website designing. Therefore, we will discuss that when it should and shouldn’t be used in present scenario. Now we should not have any misunderstanding for the term vertical menu because it clearly represents the top-level primary navigation system, not sidebars with secondary links or call-to-action areas.

Before a decade, the needs of clients were limited and website designing practices were at primitive level. Many clients were giving only page titles and page content and designers were arranging navigation accordingly in vertical menu. Thus, home page had all one-level-deep links without any information architecture. Moreover, visitors have to come on home page each time if they need to go to another pages.

Majority of websites were devoid of information related to site that describe the purpose of site, its potential goals, site architecture, etc. At that time vertical menu were giving only some hints about the website, not just like horizontal menu, which can specify everything clearly and go more than one-level-deep along with giving aesthetics to the website.

Now we are observing advancements at each level in website designing industry and changed approaches of designing process. Therefore, content is created before designing and website development team carefully analyze content. Team decides the information architects and other factors including logical hierarchical structure to make site readable, usable and capable to give high ROI. If we are going to apply vertical menu here we can’t apply above described practices as vertical menu doesn’t allow us to create depth needed.

A clear drawback of vertical navigation is the wastage of screen real estate. Our modern visitors have plenty of options to get whatever want so they devote a few minutes to our website. In due course, we have to give them the relevant information in precise manner so they can scan the content and get whatever they want rapidly. Vertical menu is creating big obstacle here by occupying important place at left side of the each page and draw visitors’ attentions unnecessarily.

In recent study on eye tracking while a visitor look at the web page showed that higher percentage of visitors were looked at the top of a home page and they looked at for the longer span. Top horizontal navigation situated on the top of the home page or on other pages so naturally visitors are using horizontal top navigation more often than vertical menu.

At other facet of coin, vertical menu allows easy update of primary navigation links as you can easily add or remove the link. Whereas in case of horizontal menu you need to restructure the horizontal menu every time, you want to update it. Another benefit of vertical navigation bar is that you can put longer link names that indicate the name and purpose of that page that is not possible with horizontal menu where you need to go deep levels.

In short, if you know the pros and cons of the vertical menu we will use it judiciously and can make our website designs more efficient.

References & More Reading

When to and not-to use vertical navigation elements, 4.0 out of 5 based on 2 ratings
Categories: Tips & Tricks

Keywords: ,

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

No comments yet (leave a comment)

You are welcome to initiate a conversation about this blog entry.

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.