When it comes to creating a truly useful and productive website, you must not only look at the overarching visual design, but also the micro-designs. This is significantly invaluable when you’re dealing with navigation menus. Whether your website has 10 pages or 10,000 pages, you must actively work to cultivate a navigation experience that is not only intuitive but also easy to master. In the quest to maintain the highest degree of usability when it comes to designing navigation menus, there are three primary options: pull-down, square and pie.
Navigation Menus for Design
Originally conceived in the 1970s, the modern menu options are relatively the same as they were roughly four decades ago. Although expandable navigation menus can solve many design issues, there are two primary design problems many web administrators and designers encounter:
- How can navigation menus become more discoverable and enticing so visitors actually click on it?
- How can menu designs minimize the amount of time it takes for visitor to actually find and click their desired option?
The biggest issue many designers face is reducing the actual selection time. This refers to the duration of time it takes for a visitor to not only locate the navigation menus, but choose their desired option. There are two primary components when it comes to selection time: visual search time and movement time.
Choosing the Best Expandable Menu for Your Website
Perhaps the biggest contributing factor when it comes to determining the best type of expandable menu your website should adopt comes down to the familiarity users have with certain menus. As you can imagine, familiarity significantly reduces visual search time. Because of this, you should always stick with a familiar formula in terms of how the expandable menu is displayed – regardless of the type you choose to use.
Another essential element you must consider when determining the best type of menu to utilize for your website is the amount of options to be placed within each menu. As a general rule of thumb, linear expandable menus are the ideal choice when you have a limited number of options. However, as the number of options increases, you should move into a rectangular menu design as this allows you ample room for the number of options while simultaneously ensuring users can easily designate and select their desired option. Should you have a touchscreen-heavy website, or users who primarily interact with your website via touchscreen devices, you’ll likely want to go with pie-style menus as these can be easily navigated and feature ample room for numerous selection options.