12th September 2008
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