7:8 Keep Navigation-Only Pages Short
Strength of Evidence:
Document Type: Guideline
Do not require users to scroll purely navigational pages.
Ideally, navigation-only pages should contain no more than one screenful of information. Users should not need to scroll the page, even a small distance. One study showed that users considered the bottom of one screenful as the end of a page, and they did not scroll further to find additional navigational options.
Piolat, A., Roussey, J.Y., & Thunin, O. (1998). Effects of screen presentation on text reading and revising. International Journal of Human Computer Studies, 47, 565-589.
Schwarz, E., Beldie, I.P., & Pastoor, S. (1983). A comparison of paging and scrolling for changing screen contents by inexperienced users. Human Factors, 24, 279-282.
Zaphiris, P. (2000). Depth vs. breadth in the arrangement of web links. Proceedings of the IEA 2000/HFES 2000 Congress, 453-456.
Title: Breadth vs Depth (UI Design Update Newsletter April, 2003)
Description: Shallow information architectures are more likely to have discrete category labels. Moderate depth produces optimal user performance.
Title: Uncertainty in Information Architecture
Description: Information scent affects the breadth and depth of an information architecture.
Title: As the page scrolls
Description: Jared Spool discusses his research showing that in some cases longer pages are more effective.
Title: Changes in Web Usability Since 1994
Description: Jakob Nielsen explains that most users scroll when they visit a long home page or a long navigation screen; in a later alertbox column he says that on the web, users expect vertical scrolling.