In a previous post, I pointed out a trend in navigation to provide a broad, flat menu of options extending from the top-level category options of a site in a layer of some kind. I called this a Sitemap Menu because they act like mini-sitemaps for that section.
In reading an interview Jensen Harris in the Adaptive Path Newsletter for July 29, 2008, it occurred to me how similar the sitemap menu is to Microsoft’s new “Ribbon” navigation in Office 2007, which was designed by Harris. OK, this may really be stating the obvious, but I didn’t make the connection before. So maybe we should be calling this device a Ribbon Navigation Menu when used on the web.
What’s more, I’ve also noticed some even more innovative uses of the Ribbon Navigation Menu. Not only are sites using them to show more navigation options, they are also integrating different types of content into the navigation.
For instance, Daylife is surfacing the top headlines in their Ribbon Menus.
Or, Handbag.com surfaces the latest blog posts. (Don’t ask me why I was looking at that site).
Others are surfacing ads in these menus. While I find this distracting in general, it does overcome banner blindness: people are more likely to see the ads in this context than at the top of a page.