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 HP.com (which has a complete subnavigation in the menu), Philips.nl, and Otto.de (which allows browsing by different facets.
Both the HP.com and Philips.nl 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 Bokardo.com 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.