Rich Navigation: Going Beyond Basic Drop-Down Menus

Posted at August 18, 2014

“We want to make it easier to find things on our Website.”

“I’m constantly getting complaints that people think our site is confusing.”

“Everything needs to be accessible within just a few clicks.”

These are among the common comments we often receive from churches as we begin a new Website redesign project. They’re all variations on the same basic theme:

We want our site to be easy to navigate.

In Web designer-speak, we talk about the importance of a sound taxonomical strategy with navigation menus and other wayfinding elements. We prioritize a discoverable nomenclature, which responds well to both mouse, keyboard, and haptic (touch)-based input mechanisms. Or, put another way:

We want to make it easy to find stuff on your site.

Traditional Drop-Downs

Traditional drop-down menus work quite well, especially when you have a large number of links categorized under a limited number of headings (typically six or fewer). They depend on a “hover” state, which is only available to mouse users and certain touch devices. These menus also work best when you use descriptive terms, since your users have no way to know what is behind each link (other than the name). There is no ability to put images, formatting, explanation text, or any other elements in these types of menus.

The New Way: Rich Navigation

While some sites opt for no hover-style navigation at all, many churches are finding a great new way to add more value to the hover state on their menus.  In the above and below examples, you’ll see how adding images, text blurbs, buttons, or even video can give your users much more information for the same amount of effort.

Rich menus have the following benefits:

  • Can span the full width of your site
  • Introduce the purpose/meaning behind a collection of links
  • Can link to any resources (on your site, or on other Websites)
  • Allow for images or video
  • Add any type of HTML (even third-party embeds)
  • Make it possible to create hierarchy and sub-elements through different weights, colors and formats of text
  • More aesthetically pleasing than traditional menus

Rich navigation menus can be added to any modern SiteOrganic Website.  Please note that design charges may apply. Contact your friendly Care Team today to learn more about the options available on your specific site design.


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