right hand vertical menus

18 Sep 2008 - 5:11am
6 years ago
24 replies
2127 reads
Chris Wright
2008

do people have any opinions on these?

i know left hand is normal, and i understand its todo with how users scan a
page... but can a right hand menu work?

anyone have any fews on the pros and cons?

Cheers,

Chris

Comments

18 Sep 2008 - 1:21pm
netwiz
2010

On Thu, 18 Sep 2008 12:11:06 +0100, Chris wrote:

>
>do people have any opinions on these?
>
>i know left hand is normal, and i understand its todo with how users scan a
>page... but can a right hand menu work?
>
>anyone have any fews on the pros and cons?

If you shrink the browser window, it's the right hand side that
disappears first.
* Nick Gassman - Usability and Standards Manager - http://ba.com *
* I vote for reply-to to go to the list*

18 Sep 2008 - 1:48pm
Loren Baxter
2007

Not necessarily, depending on how your CSS layout is set up. If you like,
it could be the last thing to go.

On Thu, Sep 18, 2008 at 12:21 PM, Nick Gassman <nick at netwiz.demon.co.uk>wrote:

>
> If you shrink the browser window, it's the right hand side that
> disappears first.
> * Nick Gassman - Usability and Standards Manager - http://ba.com *
> * I vote for reply-to to go to the list*
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
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>

18 Sep 2008 - 2:12pm
jabbett
2008

You ought to have a great reason to violate a convention like top/left
navigation.

What's your motivation?

-Jonathan

On Thu, Sep 18, 2008 at 7:11 AM, Chris Wright
<chris.mathew.wright at gmail.com> wrote:
> do people have any opinions on these?
>
> i know left hand is normal, and i understand its todo with how users scan a
> page... but can a right hand menu work?
>
> anyone have any fews on the pros and cons?
>
>
> Cheers,
>
> Chris
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

18 Sep 2008 - 2:19pm
Mark Schraad
2006

two things.

first, many users do not have browsers open all the way (more on why
in a sec) so there is a good chance it is not exposed when the page
loads, and you would force a (resize of the window) step in order to
get that functionality.

second, in many portal sites the right rail is now where most of the
revenue stuff is... ads, sponsered links, partner cross linking etc.
We have found in testing over the last couple of years that users
assume that anything in a box that is on the right third of the page
is an ad. maybe that is just aol... but I don't think so.

Mark

On Thu, Sep 18, 2008 at 7:11 AM, Chris Wright
<chris.mathew.wright at gmail.com> wrote:
> do people have any opinions on these?
>
> i know left hand is normal, and i understand its todo with how users scan a
> page... but can a right hand menu work?
>
> anyone have any fews on the pros and cons?
>
>
> Cheers,
>
> Chris
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

18 Sep 2008 - 3:57pm
Donna Fritzsche
2005

Hi Chris,
Check out James Kalbach's article on Boxes and Arrows.
http://www.boxesandarrows.com/view/challenging_the_status_quo_audi_redesigned

The article presents some decent studies and discussion.

- Donna

On Thu, 18 Sep 2008 20:21:32 +0100, Nick Gassman wrote
> On Thu, 18 Sep 2008 12:11:06 +0100, Chris wrote:
>
> >
> >do people have any opinions on these?
> >
> >i know left hand is normal, and i understand its todo with how users scan a
> >page... but can a right hand menu work?
> >
> >anyone have any fews on the pros and cons?
>
> If you shrink the browser window, it's the right hand side that
> disappears first.
> * Nick Gassman - Usability and Standards Manager - http://ba.com *
> * I vote for reply-to to go to the list*
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help

18 Sep 2008 - 4:38pm
Jeff Seager
2007

Loren is right. CSS layout allows for a lot of options here. The right
side won't necessarily drop off first, if a "liquid layout" is used
specifying widths in percentages. Here's an example of liquid layout,
if you want one:
http://tinyurl.com/4p8nwl

Resize the window however you like, and the contents will flex so you
can adjust it to suit your own preferences.

This menu question is something I've had to ponder a lot, so I'll
try not to ramble on about it although (God help me) I could.

Browsers will parse HTML top-to-bottom, left-to-right, so one
advantage of a right-hand menu is that in virtually all cases it will
be read immediately after the main content -- assuming the ubiquitous
3-column layout with header and footer.

In sites that have a "skip-navigation" link that allows users to
jump over inaccessible dropdown or flyout menus, a secondary
navigation in the right column can become the primary navigation for
some people. It's especially convenient for people using screen
readers, because they will be delivered these navigation options
immediately after reading the main content. That sets them up to go
wherever they want to go next. This is a plus for their usability
without subtracting usability for most of us.

But as always, a lot depends on how, where and why you apply all this
thinking to the actual structure and the final implementation. The
considerations I've mentioned may be completely irrelevant to your
purposes, but I thought they were worth mentioning.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=33108

18 Sep 2008 - 3:05pm
R-T Krempetz
2008

Chris,

I have used a right-hand menu successfully for thumbnail driven sites
as well as one online application principally to reduce the distance
from the scroll bar to the menu... as well as to break with
convention. My take on this goes like this: What are they doing and
how could it help or hinder? does it get in the way or does it reduce
that annoying back and forth crossing of the page by the mouse to move
from the scroll bar to a contextual menu... sorry I don't believe in
convention... put design to facilitate getting the job done... if we
continually assume there wont be any innovation, if we don't try how
will we know any better? It might not work for your needs, or it
could be the right place at the right time. Granted, it wont be the
easiest sell... you do have to overcome the naysayers... as you have,
it seems, already encountered.

r-t

On Sep 18, 2008, at 6:11 AM, Chris Wright wrote:

> do people have any opinions on these?
>
> i know left hand is normal, and i understand its todo with how users
> scan a
> page... but can a right hand menu work?
>
> anyone have any fews on the pros and cons?
>
>
> Cheers,
>
> Chris
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

19 Sep 2008 - 12:57am
netwiz
2010

abrojos at hotmail.com (Jeff) wrote:
> Loren is right. CSS layout allows for a lot of options here. The right
> side won't necessarily drop off first, if a "liquid layout" is used
> specifying widths in percentages. Here's an example of liquid layout,
> if you want one:
> http://tinyurl.com/4p8nwl
>
> Resize the window however you like, and the contents will flex so you
> can adjust it to suit your own preferences.
>
It's easier to do with columns of text, as in the example. Where you have site that might have a right-hand nav that requires a minimum width to make sense, a form on the page with other elements where relative positioning is important, then it's a different ballgame.

As ever, it's a question of adapting the design to the purpose and the audience.

Nick

18 Sep 2008 - 1:04pm
Tim Wright
2008

The research I've read seems quite explicit: people don't tend to look at
things on the right :)

(things are sidebars, adds, and other things like that...)

Tim

On Thu, Sep 18, 2008 at 11:11 PM, Chris Wright <
chris.mathew.wright at gmail.com> wrote:

> do people have any opinions on these?
>
> i know left hand is normal, and i understand its todo with how users scan a
> page... but can a right hand menu work?
>
> anyone have any fews on the pros and cons?
>
>
> Cheers,
>
> Chris
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

--
Kei te kōrero tiki au. Kei te kōrero tiki koe. Ka kōrero tiki tāua. Kōrero
ai tiki tāua.

19 Sep 2008 - 3:42am
Chris Wright
2008

thanks for the input everyone.

i think i'm going to move it back to left.. i don't have any great reason
for it being right, bar than doing something different.. and i don't think
thats a good enough reason alone to break with something that works..

though i totally agree that without challenging convention we wouldn't every
innovate.

Cheers,

Chris

On Fri, Sep 19, 2008 at 7:57 AM, <nick at netwiz.demon.co.uk> wrote:

> abrojos at hotmail.com (Jeff) wrote:
> > Loren is right. CSS layout allows for a lot of options here. The right
> > side won't necessarily drop off first, if a "liquid layout" is used
> > specifying widths in percentages. Here's an example of liquid layout,
> > if you want one:
> > http://tinyurl.com/4p8nwl
> >
> > Resize the window however you like, and the contents will flex so you
> > can adjust it to suit your own preferences.
> >
> It's easier to do with columns of text, as in the example. Where you have
> site that might have a right-hand nav that requires a minimum width to make
> sense, a form on the page with other elements where relative positioning is
> important, then it's a different ballgame.
>
> As ever, it's a question of adapting the design to the purpose and the
> audience.
>
> Nick
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

19 Sep 2008 - 5:51am
Sachin Ghodke
2008

I can agree to certain extent that browser window sizes are issues
when right menus are concerned. But looking at the trend a lot of
companies are opting to look different and it is this vision that
prompts them to change in the way we perceive or interpret user
experience.

Most of the browsers are viewed with maximized windows and with
options of adding a tab within the browser window the users by
default would maximize the windows. This will not allow the right
hand side menus to go out of the browser windows. Moreover if you
look at the trend, more users are shifting to resolution larger than
1024x768.

If we have to consider left-right human tendency to scan visual data
then if a user does not find menu to the left the next things is to
look at top and then to the right. This would waste lot of user time
and hence I recommend using high contrast menus on the right hand
side.

Hope this helps.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=33108

19 Sep 2008 - 3:25pm
netwiz
2010

On Fri, 19 Sep 2008 04:51:58, Sachin wrote:

>Most of the browsers are viewed with maximized windows and with
>options of adding a tab within the browser window the users by
>default would maximize the windows. This will not allow the right
>hand side menus to go out of the browser windows. Moreover if you
>look at the trend, more users are shifting to resolution larger than
>1024x768.
>
Sachin, do you have some stats about how many people maximise their
browser windows? A while ago we did collect some site stats from an
application (that we sadly no longer have) that showed that relatively
few of our visitors maximised their browsers.

* Nick Gassman - Usability and Standards Manager - http://ba.com *

20 Sep 2008 - 2:27am
Chan FoongYeen
2008

If you're designing for a touch screen panel, right-hand menu can be a
better options considering most user will use their right hand to point. If
the menu is on the left side, user need a bigger movement (see Fitt's Law).

cheers,
Chan, FY

On Thu, Sep 18, 2008 at 7:11 PM, Chris Wright <chris.mathew.wright at gmail.com
> wrote:

> do people have any opinions on these?
>
> i know left hand is normal, and i understand its todo with how users scan a
> page... but can a right hand menu work?
>
> anyone have any fews on the pros and cons?
>
>
> Cheers,
>
> Chris
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

20 Sep 2008 - 6:33am
Todd Warfel
2003

We've been working on a number of web-based applications recently and
used a right-hand navigation/action panel. Some of these past
applications had the standard horizontal navigation across the header
and sub-nav below that. Others used a primary navigation across the
header and sub-navigation in the left rail.

We chose to have the primary 3-5 sections as primary navigation tabs
across the header. Global actions, which are kind of sub-navigation,
but kind of not, have been put in the right hand rail. Additionally,
status information (e.g. the Account Balance $530.00) lives in this
right hand panel as well. So, we've made it into a global status and
actions panel.

We've done some A/B testing with the old applications and the new
redesigned framework and it's been very successful so far. There's
some initial delay, as is expected since these guys have been using
the old system for over 5 years. But after that initial delay, the
efficiency has increased over 20%.

I'd contribute these improvements to a number of things:
1. The overall redesign is organized better, visual spacing improved,
readability improved.
2. We've surfaced global areas into a common, predictable area.
Something they had to hunt for under a number of different menus before.
3. The content is first, actions are second in reading left to right.
So, the content these people need to access in order to complete the
task is first in the screen, shaving off some time, effort, and
cognitive load.

Cheers!

Todd Zaki Warfel
President, Design Researcher
Messagefirst | Designing Information. Beautifully.
----------------------------------
Contact Info
Voice: (215) 825-7423
Email: todd at messagefirst.com
AIM: twarfel at mac.com
Blog: http://toddwarfel.com
Twitter: zakiwarfel
----------------------------------
In theory, theory and practice are the same.
In practice, they are not.

20 Sep 2008 - 8:45am
Cwodtke
2004

Every usability study I've seen in last several years showed the nav menu on
the right performing at least as well as on the left, as long as it was
designed with strong affordances and, as was mentioned, wasn't killed by
resizing, and is more ergonomic because of its location near the scroll bar.
Moreover, the pervasiveness of blogs, who often have right-hand navigation,
makes it at least as common a convention. I think the left-hand nav
convention died in 2001-ish. In any case, it's not a worry as far as I can
discern.

One caveat: don't mix ads and navigation; then navigation does take a hit in
findability and usage.

On Sat, Sep 20, 2008 at 5:33 AM, Todd Zaki Warfel <lists at toddwarfel.com>wrote:

> We've been working on a number of web-based applications recently and used
> a right-hand navigation/action panel. Some of these past applications had
> the standard horizontal navigation across the header and sub-nav below that.
> Others used a primary navigation across the header and sub-navigation in the
> left rail.
>
> We chose to have the primary 3-5 sections as primary navigation tabs across
> the header. Global actions, which are kind of sub-navigation, but kind of
> not, have been put in the right hand rail. Additionally, status information
> (e.g. the Account Balance $530.00) lives in this right hand panel as well.
> So, we've made it into a global status and actions panel.
>
> We've done some A/B testing with the old applications and the new
> redesigned framework and it's been very successful so far. There's some
> initial delay, as is expected since these guys have been using the old
> system for over 5 years. But after that initial delay, the efficiency has
> increased over 20%.
>
> I'd contribute these improvements to a number of things:
> 1. The overall redesign is organized better, visual spacing improved,
> readability improved.
> 2. We've surfaced global areas into a common, predictable area. Something
> they had to hunt for under a number of different menus before.
> 3. The content is first, actions are second in reading left to right. So,
> the content these people need to access in order to complete the task is
> first in the screen, shaving off some time, effort, and cognitive load.
>
>
>
> Cheers!
>
> Todd Zaki Warfel
> President, Design Researcher
> Messagefirst | Designing Information. Beautifully.
> ----------------------------------
> Contact Info
> Voice: (215) 825-7423
> Email: todd at messagefirst.com
> AIM: twarfel at mac.com
> Blog: http://toddwarfel.com
> Twitter: zakiwarfel
> ----------------------------------
> In theory, theory and practice are the same.
> In practice, they are not.
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

19 Sep 2008 - 3:53pm
Joel Tachau
2008

I ran across this report by Thomas Baekdal while doing some research on this topic. It's two years old but still relevant. I would think the point about browser widths would still hold up with wide screen monitors. Ultimately you need to capture viewport dimensions to see what your audience is doing with the browser.

http://www.baekdal.com/reports/actual-browser-sizes/abs-browser/ <http://www.baekdal.com/reports/actual-browser-sizes/abs-browser/>

*
80% of users at 10x7 maximized their browsers
*
"Comparing maximized browser usage with the individual screen resolutions, we see another interesting behavior. The bigger the screen, the less likely people is to maximize their browser. But, we need to go above 1400px before we see any substantial drop."
*
"People use the available width of the browser until we reach 1280px, then it levels out. There is no substantial difference in browser size when people use high resolution screens."

- Joel

Joel Tachau
Director of User Experience
MFG.com

________________________________

From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com on behalf of Nick Gassman
Sent: Fri 9/19/2008 5:25 PM
To: Sachin Ghodke
Cc: discuss at ixda.org
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] right hand vertical menus

On Fri, 19 Sep 2008 04:51:58, Sachin wrote:

>Most of the browsers are viewed with maximized windows and with
>options of adding a tab within the browser window the users by
>default would maximize the windows. This will not allow the right
>hand side menus to go out of the browser windows. Moreover if you
>look at the trend, more users are shifting to resolution larger than
>1024x768.
>
Sachin, do you have some stats about how many people maximise their
browser windows? A while ago we did collect some site stats from an
application (that we sadly no longer have) that showed that relatively
few of our visitors maximised their browsers.

* Nick Gassman - Usability and Standards Manager - http://ba.com <http://ba.com/> *
________________________________________________________________
Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help

20 Sep 2008 - 3:06pm
Kontra
2007

> wasn't killed by
> resizing, and is more ergonomic because of its location near the scroll
> bar.

More importantly, since 2001, the (default) availability of horizontal real
estate in the browser viewport went from 600 to 800 to 1000+.

--
Kontra
http://counternotions.com

22 Sep 2008 - 3:34am
subimage interactive
2004

Very timely topic for me.
I'm going through this thought process on one of my apps right now.

Cashboard has a navigation scheme where the header / subnav are
located at the top, with major actions and status information
positioned in a right-sidebar.

I've gotten some limited feedback from new customers the action
buttons are "hard to find", or that they don't know how to accomplish
some things due to their location.

Because of this, I'm currently evaluating moving the subnav and the
sidebar to the right-hand side.

Some shots of the current layout:
http://dl.getdropbox.com/u/156966/cashboard_nav/right-sidebar.png
http://dl.getdropbox.com/u/156966/cashboard_nav/timesheet.png

Shots of the layout I'm evaluating:
http://dl.getdropbox.com/u/156966/cashboard_nav/left-sidebar.png
http://dl.getdropbox.com/u/156966/cashboard_nav/timesheet-left.png

After interacting with the new prototype, I'm realizing some things.

- The current nav scheme I have allows me to eliminate the sidebar all
together and reclaim that space for screens that need it. See the
"timesheet" png files for an illustration.

- Long-scrolling pages with lots of content look empty as you move
down the page. The effect is very jarring - and feels like there's
wasted space on the left.

My gut is telling me that having the content as the main item on the
page (on the left) is the best solution - since it's the item that
customers will interact with the most.

I'm leaning towards keeping the same layout, and sacrificing some ease
of learnability for ease of usability in the long run. Fans of
Cooper's "Inmates" will recognize this as design for the
"intermediates", which I'm a believer in.

Thoughts to the contrary are welcome :)

--------------------
seth - subimage llc
-----
http://sublog.subimage.com
-----
Cashboard - Estimates, invoices, and time tracking software - for free!
http://www.getcashboard.com
-----
Substruct - Open source RoR e-commerce software.
http://code.google.com/p/substruct/

On Thu, Sep 18, 2008 at 4:11 AM, Chris Wright
<chris.mathew.wright at gmail.com> wrote:
> do people have any opinions on these?
>
> i know left hand is normal, and i understand its todo with how users scan a
> page... but can a right hand menu work?
>
> anyone have any fews on the pros and cons?
>
>
> Cheers,
>
> Chris
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

24 Sep 2008 - 1:46pm
Joe Sokohl
2004

I must've missed those tests. The most recent one I found was an
exhaustive one that James Kalbach did in the early 2000s. His research
showed no measureable improvement in usability with a right-hand nav,
despite the hypothesis that proximity to the scroll bar and right-
handedness might have.

In addition, my recent analysis to answer exactly this question seemed
to indicate that inverted-L navigation still predominates, enough to
be considered a convention. That doesn't mean we adhere to convention
soley because it's a convention, but I think one could at least
consider inverted-L as a pattern. And Christina's observation about
ads does fit here--there's a learned convention that the right-most
column contains ads that are to be avoided :)

Just my observation,

joe

>
> On Sep 20, 2008, at 4:02 PM, discuss-request at lists.interactiondesigners.com
> wrote:
>> Date: Sat, 20 Sep 2008 07:45:27 -0700
>> From: "Christina Wodtke" <cwodtke at eleganthack.com>
>> Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] right hand vertical menus
>> To: discuss at ixda.org
>> Message-ID:
>> <ff5516960809200745l7d128c74g55bc7b637085c546 at mail.gmail.com>
>> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
>>
>> Every usability study I've seen in last several years showed the
>> nav menu on
>> the right performing at least as well as on the left, as long as it
>> was
>> designed with strong affordances and, as was mentioned, wasn't
>> killed by
>> resizing, and is more ergonomic because of its location near the
>> scroll bar.
>> Moreover, the pervasiveness of blogs, who often have right-hand
>> navigation,
>> makes it at least as common a convention. I think the left-hand nav
>> convention died in 2001-ish. In any case, it's not a worry as far
>> as I can
>> discern.
>>
>> One caveat: don't mix ads and navigation; then navigation does take
>> a hit in
>> findability and usage.
>>
>> On Sat, Sep 20, 2008 at 5:33 AM, Todd Zaki Warfel <lists at toddwarfel.com
>> >wrote:
>>
>>> We've been working on a number of web-based applications recently
>>> and used
>>> a right-hand navigation/action panel. Some of these past
>>> applications had
>>> the standard horizontal navigation across the header and sub-nav
>>> below that.
>>> Others used a primary navigation across the header and sub-
>>> navigation in the
>>> left rail.
>>>
>>> We chose to have the primary 3-5 sections as primary navigation
>>> tabs across
>>> the header. Global actions, which are kind of sub-navigation, but
>>> kind of
>>> not, have been put in the right hand rail. Additionally, status
>>> information
>>> (e.g. the Account Balance $530.00) lives in this right hand panel
>>> as well.
>>> So, we've made it into a global status and actions panel.
>>>
>>> We've done some A/B testing with the old applications and the new
>>> redesigned framework and it's been very successful so far. There's
>>> some
>>> initial delay, as is expected since these guys have been using the
>>> old
>>> system for over 5 years. But after that initial delay, the
>>> efficiency has
>>> increased over 20%.
>>>
>>> I'd contribute these improvements to a number of things:
>>> 1. The overall redesign is organized better, visual spacing
>>> improved,
>>> readability improved.
>>> 2. We've surfaced global areas into a common, predictable area.
>>> Something
>>> they had to hunt for under a number of different menus before.
>>> 3. The content is first, actions are second in reading left to
>>> right. So,
>>> the content these people need to access in order to complete the
>>> task is
>>> first in the screen, shaving off some time, effort, and cognitive
>>> load.
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> Cheers!
>>>
>>> Todd Zaki Warfel
>>> President, Design Researcher
>>> Messagefirst | Designing Information. Beautifully.
>>> ----------------------------------
>>> Contact Info
>>> Voice: (215) 825-7423
>>> Email: todd at messagefirst.com
>>> AIM: twarfel at mac.com
>>> Blog: http://toddwarfel.com
>>> Twitter: zakiwarfel
>>> ----------------------------------
>>> In theory, theory and practice are the same.
>>> In practice, they are not.
>>

24 Sep 2008 - 5:22pm
adamya ashk
2004

Back in 2003, we came across a situation where, according to the
creative folks, 'right hand menus' were an absolute must. My first
response was to cite a bunch of studies, make 'users expect what is
common' arguments and generally point out many pitfalls etc. However,
when nobody budged, we went ahead and tested it (2 rounds no less).

Lo and behold, users had no problems. Again, we'd given so much input
into the design that the menu was very clearly 'a menu' with
underlined links and clear labels etc. But it was still a shock as to
how well it did. Well that taught us something (other than being too
specific about recommendations we hadn't tested).

Nowadays, we advocate the right design for the navigation and have
come to rely on a certain type of grouping and line length for the
links, a pattern if you will, rather than the location. We see that
you can put this 'menu' anywhere, right, left, below the fold and
users might not expect it there but will still recognize that this is
navigation and use it.

One caveat is that the prevalence of wide screens will have an impact
on stuff on the right. Most of our work is fixed width and so we
haven't heard anything yet. It will be interesting to hear from folks
who may have...?

-Adamya

On 9/24/08, Joe Sokohl <joe at sokohl.com> wrote:
> I must've missed those tests. The most recent one I found was an exhaustive
> one that James Kalbach did in the early 2000s. His research showed no
> measureable improvement in usability with a right-hand nav, despite the
> hypothesis that proximity to the scroll bar and right-handedness might
> have.
>
> In addition, my recent analysis to answer exactly this question seemed to
> indicate that inverted-L navigation still predominates, enough to be
> considered a convention. That doesn't mean we adhere to convention soley
> because it's a convention, but I think one could at least consider
> inverted-L as a pattern. And Christina's observation about ads does fit
> here--there's a learned convention that the right-most column contains ads
> that are to be avoided :)
>
> Just my observation,
>
> joe
>
>
> >
> > On Sep 20, 2008, at 4:02 PM,
> discuss-request at lists.interactiondesigners.com
> wrote:
> >
> > > Date: Sat, 20 Sep 2008 07:45:27 -0700
> > > From: "Christina Wodtke" <cwodtke at eleganthack.com>
> > > Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] right hand vertical menus
> > > To: discuss at ixda.org
> > > Message-ID:
> > >
> <ff5516960809200745l7d128c74g55bc7b637085c546 at mail.gmail.com>
> > > Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
> > >
> > > Every usability study I've seen in last several years showed the nav
> menu on
> > > the right performing at least as well as on the left, as long as it was
> > > designed with strong affordances and, as was mentioned, wasn't killed by
> > > resizing, and is more ergonomic because of its location near the scroll
> bar.
> > >
> > > Moreover, the pervasiveness of blogs, who often have right-hand
> navigation,
> > > makes it at least as common a convention. I think the left-hand nav
> > > convention died in 2001-ish. In any case, it's not a worry as far as I
> can
> > > discern.
> > >
> > > One caveat: don't mix ads and navigation; then navigation does take a
> hit in
> > > findability and usage.
> > >
> > > On Sat, Sep 20, 2008 at 5:33 AM, Todd Zaki Warfel
> <lists at toddwarfel.com>wrote:
> > >
> > >
> > > > We've been working on a number of web-based applications recently and
> used
> > > > a right-hand navigation/action panel. Some of these past applications
> had
> > > > the standard horizontal navigation across the header and sub-nav below
> that.
> > > > Others used a primary navigation across the header and sub-navigation
> in the
> > > > left rail.
> > > >
> > > > We chose to have the primary 3-5 sections as primary navigation tabs
> across
> > > > the header. Global actions, which are kind of sub-navigation, but kind
> of
> > > > not, have been put in the right hand rail. Additionally, status
> information
> > > > (e.g. the Account Balance $530.00) lives in this right hand panel as
> well.
> > > > So, we've made it into a global status and actions panel.
> > > >
> > > > We've done some A/B testing with the old applications and the new
> > > > redesigned framework and it's been very successful so far. There's
> some
> > > > initial delay, as is expected since these guys have been using the old
> > > > system for over 5 years. But after that initial delay, the efficiency
> has
> > > > increased over 20%.
> > > >
> > > > I'd contribute these improvements to a number of things:
> > > > 1. The overall redesign is organized better, visual spacing improved,
> > > > readability improved.
> > > > 2. We've surfaced global areas into a common, predictable area.
> Something
> > > > they had to hunt for under a number of different menus before.
> > > > 3. The content is first, actions are second in reading left to right.
> So,
> > > > the content these people need to access in order to complete the task
> is
> > > > first in the screen, shaving off some time, effort, and cognitive
> load.
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > Cheers!
> > > >
> > > > Todd Zaki Warfel
> > > > President, Design Researcher
> > > > Messagefirst | Designing Information. Beautifully.
> > > > ----------------------------------
> > > > Contact Info
> > > > Voice: (215) 825-7423
> > > > Email: todd at messagefirst.com
> > > > AIM: twarfel at mac.com
> > > > Blog: http://toddwarfel.com
> > > > Twitter: zakiwarfel
> > > > ----------------------------------
> > > > In theory, theory and practice are the same.
> > > > In practice, they are not.
> > > >
> > >
> > >
> >
> ________________________________________________________________
>
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24 Sep 2008 - 9:10pm
subimage interactive
2004

> One caveat is that the prevalence of wide screens will have an impact
> on stuff on the right. Most of our work is fixed width and so we
> haven't heard anything yet. It will be interesting to hear from folks
> who may have...?
>
> -Adamya
>

Originally my app Cashboard had a flexible width layout. I had a lot
of negative feedback relating to my right-hand menu / buttons on
Cashboard until I moved to a fixed one.

Anecdotal evidence at best, but it seems that move has stopped the
inquiries relating to those buttons.

--------------------
seth - subimage llc
-----
http://sublog.subimage.com
-----
Cashboard - Estimates, invoices, and time tracking software - for free!
http://www.getcashboard.com
-----
Substruct - Open source RoR e-commerce software.
http://code.google.com/p/substruct/

26 Sep 2008 - 9:06am
Pawson, Mark
2007

Doesn't it depend on the target market? It seems everyone assumed
Chris was asking about right hand menu vs. left on a web or web
application. Look at desktop apps such as MS Expression Blend, Axure
or Adobe Lightroom. They use both Left and Right hand menus and would
be very challenging to remove either. If the product is going into a
similar market then right and left navigation is necessary.
That being said I have worked on web apps that had both; however the
right hand nav was definitely secondary to the left.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=33108

27 Sep 2008 - 2:40pm
cfmdesigns
2004

How many of you are Mac users? Where do you have your Dock -- left,
bottom, right? (I don't ask this of Windows users because I pretty
much never see the Taskbar on the sides, probably due to the vastly
different appearance when it is there rather than at the bottom.)

Why is there a difference (if there is) is how you think website
navigation setup should be and how you personally have your desktop
navigation set up?

Me, I have my Dock on the right. Content -- the docs I'm working on
at the time -- are the important stuff, and navigation to other apps
and the like are secondary, the stuff my vision passes to last. (For
the same reason, my Dock isn't n the bottom. Eats up too much of the
content area!) In parallel, for web sites and such where the user is
going to be dealing with content for an extended period of time, I
prefer navigation to the right; on sites where moving around and
through the site is the chief activity rather than immersing in
content, navigation on the left tends to work better, to my thinking.

Of course, ultimately, it only takes a couple seconds to evaluate
where the navigation is on any decent site and adapt to it. The
practical gain in efficiency of one location over the other isn't that
significant except where the user is going to be immersed for a really
long time -- in an app, not a site -- and in those cases, the user can
usually control some of the location details..

-- JIm

29 Sep 2008 - 2:18pm
Oleh Kovalchuke
2006

Christina Wodtke wrote:

> ...the nav menu on the right ... is more ergonomic because of its location
> near the scroll bar.

That's the key observation. Thanks, Christina.

I would recommend then, right side placement for actions in frequently used
applications (or in uncluttered designs: blogs and such), which require
frequent scrolling. "Frequently" and "frequent", because right side is not
where we normally look frequently.

--
Oleh Kovalchuke
Interaction Design is design of time
http://www.tangospring.com/IxDtopicWhatIsInteractionDesign.htm

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