Navigation Menu Trends

A few months ago there was an interesting story in Smashing magazine that spotted some new trends in web navigation menus. By and large, the trends identified are seen from a visual design standpoint, including some style trends.

I’ve been noticing two other navigation mechanisms and styles that seem to gaining popularity. The first is what I call a section sitemap menu. This is basically a dynamic menu activitated on roll over or on click from a main navigation point. The layer that is revealed essentially shows a mini-sitemap for that section of the site. This is shallower structure for navigating and allows visitors to get an overview at a glance.

Here are three examples, from (which has a complete subnavigation in the menu),, and (which allows browsing by different facets.

Both the and examples also integrate advertising and promoting into the navigation. Not sure how user-centered that approach is, but it’s surely a more seductable moment than a plain ad on the homepage. It probably overcomes banner blindness quite well, too.

The second trend I’ve notices is a double-column left-hand navigation area. Blogs sometimes have this. Here’s an example from Information Design Patterns. Or on Josh Porter’s blog. I know I’ve seen more of this arrangement, but I don’t have more examples at this moment. They’re out there, though.

Let me know if you see any other trends out there.

About Jim Kalbach

Head of Customer Experience at MURAL


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