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Horizontal or Vertical Navigation: which is best?

12th September 2008

1-minute read

Most websites arrange the main links to the site’s top-level pages across the top of the screen or down the left hand side. Which is the better choice?

The Case for Horizontal Navigation

  • All navigation links are immediately visible "above the fold"
  • No need to scroll to find the last navigation items
  • Content space is not squashed because the navigation has taken up room to the left
  • Easy to implement drop down (or hierarchical) menus which appear as the mouse moves over the top-level navigation links
  • Suits the "tabbed style of navigation, which is currently very popular

The Case for Vertical Navigation

  • Easy to accommodate extra links as the navigation is not constrained by the overall width of the website
  • Your site is better future-proofed as an overall site redesign will not be needed if your navigation is restructured
  • Allows navigation links to be ordered intuitively in terms of importance
  • Navigation is less likely to disappear off the top of the screen as a user scrolls down to read content
Jeremy Flight

Jeremy Flight

Technical Director

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