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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

Jeremy Flight

About the author

This article was written in September 2008 by Jeremy Flight, Technical Director at Rubiqa.

He has worked in the web design industry since 1999 and has helped many private businesses and public sector organisations with complex website projects. As the technical lead at Rubiqa, he is the primary contributor to our software products and is involved with projects relating to website design, eCommerce, database systems and mobile apps.

Away from work, Jeremy is a qualified cricket coach and works with junior players at his local club. He is also interested in property investment, golf, photography, playing the piano and holidaying in France.

Connect with Jeremy Flight on LinkedIn

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