[thelist] Horizontal Navigation

Ian Anderson ian at zstudio.co.uk
Fri Apr 21 11:31:13 CDT 2006

ben morrison wrote:
> hi,
> Ive been given the task of trying to finish another companies designs.
> The site in question is very big and will go down to at the least 4
> levels. Its been designed purely with one Horizontal navigation bar -
> which bizarelly changes in *some* sections. Other nav elements are
> found at the bottom at the content.

In my opinion, the furthest you can/should go is two horizontal menus 
where the second is visually a subnav for one of the top nav items.

For the third and subsequent levels, IMO you ought to go to the left 
(preferably - righthand nav is often missed or misunderstood by some 
users, and it really sucks for users of screen magnifiers. Anyway.)

Have a look at www.baxters.com; click on Our Brands > Baxters > Soups > 
Favourites > Royal Game. This is five levels down after the home page, 
and I think the navigation works reasonably well across the site for 
both shallow and deep pages.

see http://www.baxters.com/display.asp?c=5

What you've been given sounds a bit of a tall order - have you 
considered doing some paper prototypes and testing them with the client? 
If they can compare the usability of different options on some quick 
paper wireframes, they may understand better why other navigation 
options should perhaps be considered

The problems they're creating for the users by insisting on such 
inappropriate navigation should not be underestimated, I think.

> The client does not want a left menu and the designs have also been
> done to 1024 so we cannot use a right menu.

That gives me the hump. "The client does not want a left menu"? And what 
expertise in Information Architecture, graphic design, user interface 
design or usability do they have?

Being handed aribitrary and unfounded dictats like that by clients 
really annoys me. What on earth is the point of hiring people for their 
expertise, and then telling _them_ what to do?

Do they do that with doctors, or engineers?

"Yes, we want a suspension bridge, but we don't like the look of steel 
cable. You need to use string. Green string. Okay? We're looking forward 
to seeing your ideas on that."

Of course then they want three versions to choose from: you design the 
thing you know is the right solution, a variation on that, and something 
completely inappropriate just to make the other two look good.

And you can bet your life on which one they'll pick, can't you?

Ah, sod it. I'm off to play with the kids.

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- http://zStudio.co.uk
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