Why multiple navigation means?

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I note that many (most) professionally-designed pages include at least two means
of navigation:

- A horizontal list of topics across the top of the page
- A vertical list on the left side of the page.

Sometimes the lists are identical, other times they're different...

Seems confusing to the user - but I'd guess there's a good reason or it wouldn't
be so prevalent.


Re: Why multiple navigation means?

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Sometimes the designer will have alloted space for site-wide navigation
and for local within-the-section navigation. This is a good thing, I
believe. The left menu is the same on all pages, the other one is
section-specific and changes based on what section of the site you're in.

Because the home page often requires no local navigation, as it's mainly a
gateway to the actual sections, they feel they have to put something
there. So they repeat the site navigation there. Not particularly useful.
I'd rather see a sitemap link, even links to highlighted pages, or even a
better design, before the nav is repeated like you describe.

Another possibility is that they've used some Javascript-reliant method to
do the navigation, and because they see it fails in many environments that
copy it over. The correct solution is, of course, to redesign the
navigation so it works.

Re: Why multiple navigation means?

Neal wrote:

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I'll add one.  "Because all the other business sites look like that, mine
has to look exactly the same way, or they'll fire my ass for being

Re: Why multiple navigation means?

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Usually one is site-wide navigation... the other is navigation to sub topics
of the primary navigation

IE: down the left hand side you might have navigation for:

Clicking on "products" might take you to a page that gives a general
overview of the products and any notations or awards... as well as
activating a secondary navigation across the top that might let you find
more detail about particular products

There will be some sites that duplicate navigation in both navigation
bars... IE: in the above example "Contact Us" should appear in the primary
navigation... but might also appear in the sub navigation for "products",
"ordering" and "about us"

Some will even go more than just 2 bars... on www.themirage.com they have 4
navigation bars on the site... the topmost one is for their "brochure" and
general information... along the left hand side is the primary navigation...
below the brochure navigation is the navigation system for sub topics on
whatever category the user picked... and finally across the bottom of the
page is a navigation bar to other hotel/casinos owned by the same company

But keep in mind: just because somebody does something one way, doesn't mean
its the best way or the right way for your needs.

Re: Why multiple navigation means?

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Wow... the 'HTML' version sure loads a lot faster than the 'Enhanced'....

That would be an example of a site that I find confusing.   I see "Contact
Us/FAQS" in the left list; then I see "Contact Us"  "Employment" and "FAQS"
across the top.   Maybe I'm just easily confused...but a little voice keeps
saying "geeze, they've go this topic here...and that topic there....but they
*sound* the same...but the must be different or they wouldn't show 2 different

Re: Why multiple navigation means?

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I have some long pages and have both (top) side and bottom navigation
for convenience.

If there's space available, even duplication can make it easier for
the user. Reduces the number of "I can't see how to get to..."

Re: Why multiple navigation means?

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two means


Well, on the page http://www.scaiecat-spa-gigi.com/sv/sicilien.html
and on the page http://www.scaiecat-spa-gigi.com/it/svezia.html
I tried to make a menu on the left which refers to the whole website and a
top summary, so to say, which more specifically  refers to the topics which
are on the same page or which are more strictly connnected with these ones.
I hope the readers can find both means of navigation useful!

What about you?

--      Luigi ( un italiano che vive in Svezia)
http://www.italymap.dk /

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