Sunday, September 20, 2009

Horizontal Web Navigation

I came across an article that talks about the shift from vertical navigation on web pages to horizontal navigation. This has become the favored design as of recently. Everyone seems to be applying horizontal navigation to their web pages. The switch from vertical to horizontal navigation is both for aesthetics and for usability.

The article says that when someone visits a website their primary point of focus is the navigation bar. So, the navigation bar should be well designed and should be easy to find and read. However, the navigation bar should not take away from the content that is on the page.

The article also goes into detail on how to create navigation that is easy to use. Labels should clearly state where links are being directed. Creative names, even though catchy, may make it harder for users to determine which link they should be using. There should also be a hierarchy of links in the navigation bar. Primary links should be most prominent and should be distinguishable from secondary links. Also, drop down menus should be clearly labeled. A visitor to your site should never be surprised by drop down menus.

The current trend of horizontal navigation versus vertical navigation doesn't seem as though it will shift anytime soon. However, no matter what the trend is, one thing is clear. Navigation should be well designed, clear, and to the point.

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