Right-hand navigation

16 Jul 2010 - 6:23pm
3 years ago
11 replies
2640 reads
Dave Tanchak
2007

Hi all,

We're working on a new site design and some initial user testing has shown that our local navigation is just as effective on the right side of the page as it is on the left. Generally, my experience has been that if it looks like navigation, people usually figure out that that's what it is, so, while I'm feeling like the right-side will work, I'm still hesitant to flout conventions.

I reviewed this thread from a couple of years ago:

http://www.ixda.org/node/17909

and it seems to support this thinking. Before we make a final decision, was just wondering if anyone was aware of any recent studies or stats on the matter.

Thanks in advance.
--
Dave Tanchak
Manager, Web Services,
IT Services, BCIT
w: 604-456-8141  c: 778-928-2219
dtanchak@bcit.ca
bcit.ca/its

Comments

17 Jul 2010 - 11:05am
Nils-Erik Gustafsson
2009

This might have been mentioned already, but having the navigation on the left-hand side not only follows the dominating de facto standard. It also ensures that the navigation is visible / available, even on a small, low-resolution screen. Having to scroll horizontally in order to reach the navigation will not make your users happy.

Nils-Erik Gustafsson


gui@cmpmail.com

View original post: http://www.ixda.org/mailcomment/redirect/%3C30095.26346.0.1279322618.ae349adce517a272ad14e1b676d625c8%40ixda.org%3E 
 

17 Jul 2010 - 11:14am
youngdesign
2010

I often find myself ignoring the right-hand side of the screen, assuming that anything over there surrounded by a box is probably and advertisement of some sort... or if not ads, external links to other websites.

Having said that - if a websites core navigation was on the right, I would quickly learn to trust that area - I just don't think it's the ideal place... especially when it could easily be on the left where I would expect.

 

Simon Young.

9 Feb 2011 - 11:31am
seifip
2009

At Learn Japanese I tend to have purely info sidebars on the right, where as any sidebars that happen to have a menu in them are always on the left. It allows me to prioritize the info in the content column over that in the sidebar when there is no navigation, yet one instantly understands that it is possible navigate to other pages whenever the sidebar is on the left.

Philip Seyfi

17 Jul 2010 - 12:05pm
Helen Killingbeck
2005

I recall this conversation from a few years ago. Has anyone done any usability testing with those individuals who use assistive technology (screen magnification for low vision users)? Dave, how does the navigation work using a keyboard only?

Helen

18 Jul 2010 - 11:57am
Dave Tanchak
2007

Thanks Helen. That's a good point. We haven't done any testing in this regard yet, but I'll pass it on to my lead developer. Definitely something we'll want to look into.

D.
--
Dave Tanchak
Manager, Web Services,
IT Services, BCIT
w: 604-456-8141  c: 778-928-2219
dtanchak@bcit.ca
bcit.ca/its


18 Jul 2010 - 3:05pm
mcaskey
2008

I have done some MVT that pitted left v. right and a couple of other variations. I was watching bounce, click paths, leads and sales.

All I could tell was that the most effective placement depended mainly on the user base. The other elements of the experience also came into play.

Basically, there was no solid single winner between east vs. west nav placement, when taking nothing else into consideration.

Sorry if that isn't much help to you (other than to reaffirm the value of continuous split testing).

Mike

On Jul 18, 2010, at 11:42 AM, Dave Tanchak wrote:

> Thanks Helen. That's a good point. We haven't done any testing in this regard yet, but I'll pass it on to my lead developer. Definitely something we'll want to look into. > > D. > -- > Dave Tanchak > Manager, Web Services, > IT Services, BCIT > w: 604-456-8141 c: 778-928-2219 > dtanchak@bcit.ca > bcit.ca/its > > >

18 Jul 2010 - 6:05pm
Fredrik Matheson
2005

@Mike: which user groups preferred left nav/right nav? 


(
17 Jul 2010 - 9:05pm
dantemurphy
2010

Dave and others-
We did some testing of a concept for physicians where all of the navigation was on the right and contextual to the content of the page. The concept performed very well for three reasons. First, many physicians use a website called UptoDate.com that follows a similar information hierarchy; the article is flush to the left, and the related links and page tools are on the right.

The second reason for the success of this concept was that the navigation area was very clearly and accurately labeled. On the home page, it contained the most frequently used links based upon known behavioral patterns, and on subsequent pages it contained related links. This is the third reason for success...there was no crap on the page AT ALL. Every content element respected the time pressure, baseline knowledge, ability to rapidly process information and general tendency to distrust the internet that nearly all physicians possess and exhibit.

So it CAN work, but you have to understand the context.

Best of luck!

Dante Murphy | VP/D User Experience | D I G I T A S H E A L T H
100 Penn Square East| Wanamaker Building, 11th Floor | Philadelphia, PA 19107 | USA
Email: dmurphy@digitashealth.com
www.digitashealth.com

18 Jul 2010 - 3:50am
Eddster
2010
Is there any research to show how the eye follows the page with navigation on the right? I have always found that a right hand navigation bar draws my attention away from the content of a page when I land there. If its on the left then my natural tendency to read from left to right is not disrupted. If you're relying on people finding info quickly (on a landing page for example) then this may marginally handicap the page. Personal opinion, what do the rest of you think?
18 Jul 2010 - 11:05am
hnarsana
2010

I believe navigation on the right is as fine, maybe even better. Blogs do it all the time, with main content on the left to maintain focus, and navigation on the right to assist.
I know it's not a defacto standard, but as designers shouldn't we be questioning standards as well?
If testing shows it works as well on the left as on the right, I'd go with right so as to ensure that focus is on the main content as the user walks in.
Yes, the one show stopper would be the scroll. As long as that gets covered, you should be good.
Hemanshu
Usability Engineer / Ph: +91-96861-90892 [new]

“Don’t worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you’ll have to ram them down people’s throats.” - Howard Aiken

18 Jul 2010 - 12:05pm
Fredrik Matheson
2005



@Dave: Years ago I too tested left nav vs right nav with a detailed and fully designed/coded flash prototype. Our sample was fairly small (about 40 people) but we didn't discover any noticeable differences in efficiency/completion rate in the left and right versions.
If placing the navigation on the right offers your key user groups notable benefits, then by all means, go for it.
Personally I prefer to see content first and navigation second, but that can be accomplished in many ways: placing the nav at left or right, contrast (type size, hue, saturation), white space, etc. 
On Sun, Jul 18, 2010 at 12:18 PM, Eddster <eddie@capitaledge.co.uk> wrote:

Is there any research to show how the eye follows the page with navigation on the right? I have always found that a right hand navigation bar draws my attention away from the content of a page when I land there. If its on the left then my natural tendency to read from left to right is not disrupted. If you're relying on people finding info quickly (on a landing page for example) then this may marginally handicap the page. Personal opinion, what do the rest of you think?

((
Syndicate content Get the feed