Need for and Contents of Left Navigation

21 Apr 2009 - 2:11pm
5 years ago
8 replies
294 reads
ELISABETH HUBERT
2007

Hi Jennifer,

Here is my two cents... hopefully it helps. Usually a left or right
or local nav, as i've seen it, supports your global nav, not
replicates it. By having two navs that do the same thing you are just
filling that page up with noise that disrupts the user. The global nav
(which you have on top) should remain as constant as possible and the
support nav could change depending on which main navigation you are
in. Basically you make a selection with the global nav and you dive
even deeper with a support nav.

Usually support navs are useful if you have a deep taxonomy that
can't be surfaced in the global nav or if you have long (horizontal)
taxonomy with many similar pieces of content that are on the same
level. With these horizontal taxonomies you could use the support nav
as a filter (sort of like a tag list idea).

Good luck!

Lis
http://www.elisabethhubert.com

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Comments

21 Apr 2009 - 2:17pm
Anonymous

thanks elizabeth! I actually agree with you. right now, we have really
no taxonomy, which is a pretty deep problem. I want to address it and
have someone hired to help us rebuild.

What I'm looking at doing right now - at least until we can address
the larger issue - is replicate the the main sub-categories off the
global nav, but add a 'tree' navigation below each in a
left-navigation scheme that provides the deeper pages that can be
accesses to elaborate upon that category...

Not sure that makes much sense :)

-J

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21 Apr 2009 - 2:20pm
ELISABETH HUBERT
2007

No problem. I think what you are doing is a great start. Post again if
you'd like more help :-)

Lis

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21 Apr 2009 - 2:33pm
robenslin
2008

Hi Jennifer,

I agree with Elizabeth - replicating navigation is a waste of space
and superflous. By the sound of things you've not been left many
choices? I don't think there's an obvious answer, however it might be
a case of chosing the lesser of the evil. Possible options:

1. Disable the left hand naviagtion and use the space it occupied (if
possible) for useful content,

2. Attempt to look at the renaming the left hand sub-nav (from the
global sub-nav) into labels which further aid or augment navigation
for the user,

3. Disable the horizontal sub-nav so there's no duplication and use
the left hand navigation to support that section of contet.

Could you supply a link to the exisiting site?

Good luck,

-- rob

// Rob Enslin

On 21 Apr 2009, at 12:17, Jennifer <chicgeek75 at gmail.com> wrote:

> thanks elizabeth! I actually agree with you. right now, we have really
> no taxonomy, which is a pretty deep problem. I want to address it and
> have someone hired to help us rebuild.
>
> What I'm looking at doing right now - at least until we can address
> the larger issue - is replicate the the main sub-categories off the
> global nav, but add a 'tree' navigation below each in a
> left-navigation scheme that provides the deeper pages that can be
> accesses to elaborate upon that category...
>
> Not sure that makes much sense :)
>
> -J
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=41403
>
>
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21 Apr 2009 - 2:59pm
Anonymous

Thanks again to all. And sure, I don't mind sharing the site:

http://us.trendmicro.com/us/home/

You may have heard of our products. Right now, I'm trying to work on
the Medium Business overview page (what they call here the 'segment
landing page'). We actually just launched this as a new header and
banner space this morning, a project which began long before I was
brought on board.

My personal immediate goal with our navigation is to at least create
a schema that is consistently applied across the site (if we even
need a left-nav remains an open question in my mind). So, even though
I'm currently working on Medium Business, the left-navigation concept
would translate as well to the other 'segments'. The
larger/long-term goal I have is to really rework the taxonomy and
perhaps readdress the global navigation.

Within the Medium Business project, we are trying to build out the
content of the page (and sub-pages) to address more of a
customer-centric approach to buying our solutions (go fig?) rather
than the "Here's what we have to sell you, buy it."
Thus, any left navigation we may add I would like to include the new
path, probably a sub-set of pages under "overview".

I'm thinking as I go as I don't have as much time on this as I'd
like. :( I know there's no perfect solution really, but how can I
make it as thought-out within the framework I have to work...

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22 Apr 2009 - 10:55am
Brian Mila
2009

Jennifer,

Have you considered the "mega dropdowns"? Not sure if they would be
appropriate for your exact situation, but it could be worth a look.

http://www.useit.com/alertbox/mega-dropdown-menus.html

Brian

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22 Apr 2009 - 1:39pm
Anonymous

Hi Brian,

We are using those now in our Global Navigation, primarily for what I
call the secondary or utiltiy nav (About Us, Site Map, Other Regions).

-Jennifer

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23 Apr 2009 - 8:34am
John Vaughan - ...
2004

Agree with observations re:

Nix on the redundancy between top & sidebar nav links

Plus on the consistency of global/topbar menu

Plus on Brian's suggestion of MegaMenus. Don't know what you mean
by your response - but you might want to take the technique a little
further in solving your larger challenge.

2 critical comments on current UI:

Current design does NOT echo your location in the active "silo" (by
highlighting the global menu selection, for instance, or placing a
breadcrumb-like title on the drilldown pages). That environmental
contextual info is important in terms of helping the user feel
comfortable in navigating a huge site.

IMHO Large amounts of highly saturated red make me dizzy. Esp. when
identifying links. I'm sure that some stakeholders are convinced
that it's part of the company brand, but it's perceptually
overwhelming. As a partial solution: Red dots, arrows or icons might
identify "clickable" items on a large list without the eye-crossing
intense color blur of huge areas of undifferentiated red text.

And, yes, tag clouds might help the search task - esp. if you can
identify popular keyword themes.

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27 Apr 2009 - 11:34am
Anonymous

Thanks, John -

First, the 'mega-menu' usage for us is only up in that very
top-area of links on the pages, e.g., "Shop" or "North America
". For the main/global navigation (red), we're just using short
link lists as drop-downs. I will keep the 'mega' option on the
table longer-term as I push to re-approach how we're organizing and
allowing access to information.

And yes, you're correct about us not showing an active state:
something that was either overlooked or deliberately done (this
project was well underway before I came on board). I've also noted
to my team that the 'tabs' themselves are not functionally
clickable; that is, you can click, but you no go nowheere :( (VP says
he likes it this way to 'force the user' to find a quicker path to
destination... don't get me started.)

I completely agree with the red issue, and we're slowly changing
that to a soft blue as we launch updates/new projects.

So, thanks for the input! It really helps me to feel I'm not alone
in much of my thinking. I may have said earlier that I'm the sole
UI/UX/IA/IxD person on our global web team. :-/

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