Left Nav, Right Nav. What Nav, Should It Have?

28 Oct 2005 - 7:59am
8 years ago
1 reply
661 reads
Jared M. Spool
2003

At 07:57 PM 10/27/2005, David Hatch wrote:
>What do you think?
>In terms of overall user experience, what side do you like for
>navigation? Do you share the concern of my inner voice saying: go with
>the standard?

Hi David,

In my opinion, you shouldn't care what *I* (or potentially most others on
this list) like for navigation. I don't even think you should care what
your users like.

You should only care about which one best accomplishes the objectives of
your users *and* the objectives of your organization.

That being said, having tested a ton of users on bundles of sites, we've
learned over the years that navigation placement doesn't matter one whit.
Put the navigation practically anywhere on the page and users will find it
when they need it.

And, as I discussed at
http://www.uie.com/brainsparks/2005/10/19/global-navigation-not-worthwhile/
, we're recommending that our clients spend very little resources on the
design of global navigation. It's rarely used productively (almost always
because the site is too frustrating in other ways) and ignored on well
working sites.

Local navigation works only when the local links are actually things will
want to go to next. (Either because your previous navigation screwed up and
they ended up on the wrong page in the first place or because it's a
logical follow-on to where they are now.) Understanding *why* users need
local navigation and ensuring the link names are communicating the real
value of navigating will have more impact on the success of your design
than the position or style of the links. We recommend clients focus their
resources on ensuring the links give off good scent more than on styling.

Of course, these are my opinions and worth exactly what you paid for them.

Jared

Jared M. Spool, Founding Principal, User Interface Engineering
4 Lookout Lane, Unit 4d, Middleton, MA 01949
978 777-9123 jspool at uie.com http://www.uie.com
Blog: http://www.uie.com/brainsparks

Comments

31 Oct 2005 - 12:01pm
Todd Warfel
2003

Yes, as long as you keep it in a relatively consistent place and it
looks like and behaves like navigation, then the customer will be
just fine.

On Oct 28, 2005, at 8:59 AM, Jared M. Spool wrote:

> Put the navigation practically anywhere on the page and users will
> find it
> when they need it.

Cheers!

Todd R. Warfel
Partner, Design & Usability Specialist
Messagefirst | making products & services easier to use
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Contact Info
Voice: (607) 339-9640
Email: todd at messagefirst.com
AIM: twarfel at mac.com
Blog: http://toddwarfel.com
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In theory, theory and practice are the same.
In practice, they are not.

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