Left Nav, Right Nav. What Nav, Should It Have? [signed]

28 Oct 2005 - 10:05pm
1165 reads
Bernie Monette

> Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Left Nav, Right Nav. What Nav, Should It Have?
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]
> 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.

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

This reminds me of what I read about Henry Ford and the design of the first
Model T. He chose a French design: four motion wheels and one steering wheel
on the left hand side. This has got to be one of the most important design
decisions of the 20th century but who was their to help him? Did he do a few
focus groups, maybe a survey, or did he even ask his wife? Probably not: he
chose the one he liked.

Was this the best choice? Probably not: considering that in most cars you
cannot see the right hand corner. We are stuck with it and the history of
automobile design has some interesting similarities to what we are doing.
Although our users seldom die in the process: remember the Corvair?

So we are lucky in a sense that we work in a plastic enough environment that
these decisions can be talked about, tired out, and accepted or rejected.

My own sense is that right hand navigation is often overlooked by the
visitors. This may be due to how the visitor reads the page or what they
expect. We do not have so many conventions that we can be sure.

One source of this is from SURL. They do some interesting things with
usability research (I think it has to do with being isolated in the mid




And finally one I have used quite a bit




Bernie Monette
InterActive Arts
Internet Presence Management
http://www.iaai.ca | monette at iaai.ca | 416 469 4337
Also of Humber College, Toronto. In house usability specialist and

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