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7:5 Place Primary Navigation Menus in the Left Panel

Relative Importance:

Relative Importance rating of 4 out of 5

Strength of Evidence:

Strength of Evidence rating of 3 out of 5

Document Type: Guideline


Topic:

Navigation


Guideline:

Place the primary navigation menus in the left panel, and the secondary and tertiary menus together.


Comments:

One study found that navigation times were faster when the primary menu was located in the left panel. Placing a navigation menu in the right panel was supported as a viable design option by both performance and preference measures. AlsoOne study showed that, navigation performance was best when the secondary and tertiary menus were placed together. Placing a navigation menu in the right panel was supported as a viable design option by both performance and preference measures. Users preferred having the primary menu in the left panel, and grouping secondary and tertiary menus together, or grouping all three menu levels together. The best performance and preference was achieved when all three menus were placed in the left panel (placing them all in the right panel achieved close to the same performance level).


Sources:

  • Kalbach, J. & Bosenick, T. (2003). Web page layout: A comparison between left and right-justified site navigation menus. Journal of Digital Information, 4(1). Retrieved November 2005, from http://jodi.tamu.edu/Articles/v04/i01/Kalbach/.
  • Kingsburg, J.R. & Andre, A.D. (2004). A comparison of three-level web menus: Navigation structures. Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 48th Annual Meeting.

Good Example:

Primary and secondary navigation is are placed consistently throughout the site.07_05_good_example


Related Resources: