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Thoughts on nav bars..

Discussion in 'Design & Development' started by Adrasteia, May 6, 2014.

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  1. Because I'm currently redesigning my website I've been thinking quite a bit about navigation. I know there are many theories, people always have different opinions, but I'm keen on hearing what you think..
    • Fixed at the top of the page, or rather not?
    • Horizontal, or vertical?
    • Drop-downs, or further navigation on the pages themselves?
    Of course I'm most interested in hearing WHY you think one or the other will work better, especially when it comes to user-friendliness. I find it most important a website is easy to use.
     
  2. Generally, I prefer horizontal drop-down menus. Vertical menus work well as sub menus. You will see this structure in major websites such as Amazon.
     
  3. Hmmm. True. Though.. should we stay away from using a drop-down in a drop-down (sorry I hope this makes sense, don't know what else to call it)? I once read this article that stated that it's sometimes not good when people have -too- many options. Would that also go for menu's? I'm just trying to figure out whether I should for example have a mega-menu for my shop, or rather just a thing that says 'shop' and then when you click on it and the page loads, the submenu either displays at the left, or instead you have big 'buttons' on the page that link to the different categories.. I wish someone would have done a study what works best for conversions. I'm having a hard time deciding what's best.
     
  4. Ahhhh - you mean having a menu two levels deep?

    I generally try and avoid this as things get a bit messy and unusable. It can work well if the menu responds correctly, though too many menus get messed up when second level menus are introduced.

    Have you considered using a heatmap on your website?
     
  5. Yes, that is exactly what I mean. Sorry.. sometimes I just can't think of the right terms. And I know what you mean.. I cannot stand it when I try to select something of the second level and the menu disappears all the time and I have to hover over my first selection again. Though the nav I currently use has a little but of an overlap between first and second level which makes it easier to use. But when I look at your website, for example, I also see you have chosen to just have the 'blog' link in the nav bar, and then the option to select categories in the blog's sidebar, instead of a dropdown menu in the navigation..

    I have absolutely considered a heat map. Google's In-Page Analytics haven't been working for me anymore for many months now. I spent hours trying to find what's causing the problem, without results. I've been considering Crazy Egg. But to be honest, as owner of a relatively new website (less than one year old) I'm kind of avoiding spending over $100 on something that's not a necessity. Do you use a heat map, and if so, which one? If you do use Crazy Egg, do you think the basic plan would be good to begin with, or should I really consider one of the more expensive plans?
     
  6. There are free alternatives such as Heat Map Tracker.

    I personally don't use a heat map. I have tried one before but didn't keep using it. I believe they are worthwhile for ecommerce stores as a small change can mean a big change in profits.
     
    Adrasteia likes this.
  7. I will go with the Horizontal menu, but if you are planning to add a drop down menu, then you should do something similar to what http://www.searchenginejournal.com has done with their Menus. This way, you will also be able to promote blog posts from different categories.
     
  8. I have to chime in on this one about Crazy Egg.... I just purchased this for the company I work for and have been running it on 5 different sites for almost 30 days now. It has already paid for itself 10x over... CrazyEgg doesn't do a good job at marketing what is really cool about their tools... I'll dive into a little what I have been using it for...

    The heatmaps yes are great and very useful, however, what I use most of the time to actually make decisions is the Overlay report. In the overlay report it shows you everything that was clicked on and how many times... There is a different shade color for the amount of clicks so it is easy to see where the top clicks are.

    Example, below this has been running on CrazyEgg for only about 5 days and I had this at the bottom of my webpage. Little did I know, the meet our staff section was actually producing the most clicks of anything on the home page. So I immediately moved it up to the top of the webpage, above the fold so that people can more easily access it and then on mobile it shows first in order. With Google Analytics yes I can that traffic to the page, but without some crazy javascript on everything I would have never known this was the most clicked on thing. Since moving it up the clicks have almost tripled.

    upload_2014-5-6_22-58-46.png

    Another great feature, you can click on any of the boxes in the overlay report and filter it down to a ton of different attributes. In example below I wanted to know what percentage of clicks was from mobile/desktop.


    upload_2014-5-6_22-59-16.png

    Some more filters include...

    upload_2014-5-6_23-4-14.png


    This might be hard to see, but another great feature that CrazyEgg has now, which is fairly new is that you can run your mobile snapshots side by side with your desktop/tablet snapshots. I can see my responsive site and where the clicks are generating....

    For example, I have been debating removing the phone# on the top bar just in responsive mode (since i have phone # again in middle), but I was hesitant to do this before. Now I can let CrazyEgg run for any amount of time I feel safe with and if the 2nd phone # in the middle is receiving a large majority of the clicks I know I can safely remove the top one and feel confident that it isn't going to hurt me.

    upload_2014-5-6_23-6-5.png

    Here is heatmap view for both...

    upload_2014-5-6_23-8-52.png

    It is spendy, I grant you that... I have been eyeing this tool for a long time and never even tried the trial because of the price tag. But when it comes down to changing something on your website, or deciding if your nav bar is working, or where people are clicking... The tool really pays for itself. You might be surprised what people are and aren't clicking on. For me, CrazyEgg actually makes it so I sleep better at night :)

    Also if you want another cheaper heatmat, I also recommend http://clicky.com/.

    I'll be publishing a longer review of CrazyEgg on my blog within the next week or so and diving into some more of the details if you are interested.
     
  9. Hmmm.. that does look interesting. No clue how I'd accomplish such a thing, though.
     
  10. Brian, now I want Crazy Egg even more than ever. I've been wanting it for such a long time now, and can afford it but don't find it wise to spend that amount of money on an 'extra' right now. The Overlay of also the feature I'm most interested in, together with the Confetti. I can really see how it would make deciding what to keep and what to remove from my website so much easier! I'd love to read your in-depth review on it. Clicky has never interested me for some reason.. I want Crazy Egg! May I ask what package you use?
     
  11. Great post Brian. Please let us all know when you publish that post. I'd love to check it out and find out more about the service.
     
  12. Haha, sorry @Adrasteia. Yes it really is an amazing tool! Its hard for me not to be excited about it. I am currently on the Plus plan because we have a huge mobile initiative right now and so we had to have the mobile snapshots. Right now some of our sites are hitting 50% mobile traffic and so we are now thinking mobile first sometimes before even desktop.

    Also I don't mean to discourage you... but don't be fooled by their billing. All the plans are billed annually. It says $9/month but they require you to pay the $108 upfront.

    upload_2014-5-7_12-7-26.png

    They do have a 30 day free trial though if you just want to try it out. Even the basic plan has the overlay report and confetti reports which in my opinion is where the real data is.

    Ill make sure to let you @Kevin Muldoon when I get up my full in-depth review.
     
    Kevin Muldoon likes this.
  13. I might get a bit slated for saying this, but...

    ...I hate nav bars! Always have!

    And this is the way i would love to have my websites, if i had the money this is.

    -----> http://www.mirrorsedge.com/ <-----

    Let me explain, if i had a blog, i would look to increase useability. I know the site above is not a blog, however it has me thinking about possibilities.

    Everything is on the same page, and also if you look further down the site, you could implement the open letter parts as blog posts. Videos and stuff below that still. I know there is no advertising, if you think about it, in this climate everyone is going ad blind. So you need to come up with something new, like ads in middle of the videos content, or some kind of animated ad banner just suddenly popping up inbetween the blog post. Bit like the optin form popping up below the blog posts, for example smartpassiveincome.com. Pat Flynn used to have Optin Skin at bottom popup between the bottom of the post and comments. If you think about it, it is a neat idea, which may catch on - Maybe?!
     
  14. One page websites are fine for landing pages and splash pages for games and films etc. When you are adding lots of content to your website, navigation is vital. Can you imagine a one page design for a website with 1,000 pages of content. A navigation menu is the most practical way for people to search a website.

    On a side note, I just watched the trailer for Mirrors Edge. Looks great. I really enjoyed the first one on the PS3. Might treat myself to a PS4 in a month or so as there are some good games coming out. Though I'm tempted to get a Wii U first :)
     
  15. Wii U - waste of money unless you like the games they come out with.

    However, there are a lot of good games coming out. Especially The Division - looks cool.

    As for the nav bar, although I think it is a must, I am sure it will change to a degree eventually. It is very rare I use the nav bar on a website these days, as there are other ways to find what you are looking for on the site - breadcrumbs for example, if you use them that is.
     
  16. Definitely. Games are what make a system. I would be happy with Super Nes graphics if the games were good enough :)

    In my opinion, there is more reason to buy a Wii U just now than a PS4 or Xbox One. Most of the best games out for the PS4 at the moment are available for the PS3; and I already have a PS3. There is no real major difference in the games to warrant a upgrade.

    In addition to the new Mario Kart, which is apparently the best mario kart ever made, the Wii U also boasts Super Mario 3D World, Super Smash Bros, Nintendo Land, Donkey Kong etc. Starfox and Zelda are coming soon too.

    I know people say that all Nintendo does is bring out remakes of the same old games; however the same could be said about the other systems. The Xbox 360 had 8 Call of Duty games. Electronic Arts whole business is built upon releasing the same games every year.

    I bought a Wii and a PS3 in the last generation. The PS3 definitely got the most gameplay; however I had a blast with the Wii in multiplayer games (had the PS Move too - which was fun).

    I'm tempted to buy a Wii U and then snap up old Wii games for it (at the same time future proofing myself with Wii U games). It could be cheaper to just snap up an old Wii though. Will see what happens. Me and my brother sometimes spend a day going through a game - so it is great to be able to pick up quality games cheaper. The Last of Us is next on our list.

    I'm going to continue to buy classics for the PS3. As a gamer, this is the perfect time to pick up classic games you never purchased for a system. There is probably more than 100 great PS3 games that I have yet to play and there are lots of classics on the Wii I missed out on too (my Wii was at my brothers house and it was destroyed when his house was flooded - I never replaced it).

    OK...back on topic :)

    With regards to the navbar, I am unsure how you can navigate the web without using navigation bars. All large websites, be it Amazon, Facebook, or a top gaming website such as IGN, use them.

    Do you use the nav bar on Rise Forums?
     
  17. Not really, no.

    What I do when I come here is, obviously use the main website address to get here. Then use the topics or alerts to navigate. Open new tabs etc. that is what I usually do in forums.

    As for blogs, I usually use the links they put in articles when they follow on or reference something, or use the recent posts in the side widget or bottom before comments section. I can not remember the last time I have used a nav bar really.

    As for games, did you hear about the person that had all the old consoles, like nes and master system and others, had about 10 short of the full catalogue of games, sold the lot to help out his family?

    He owned a few games shops and collected them, swapping decent manuals and stuff for better wear and tear as well.
     
  18. I saw a video recently where the guy had worked in a video game store for 20 years and was always collecting. He then sold his complete collection. I didn't see the part about him helping his family, but it could have been the same guy. The Guinness book of recorded it as the biggest collection in the world.
     
  19. Yep. That's the video I saw. The number of games he had was insane. I think a lot of these guys are hoarders that get more enjoyment from keeping games than playing them. Each to their own, I guess :)



    I discussed picking up old NES and Super NES game with my brother. I thought it would be good to pick up some classics and play through them together. Though we quickly came to the conclusion that:

    • We could spend a lot of money to do this
    • We would have more games lying around taking up space
    • We could just plug in and play the games via an Emulator
    I have used my PS3 controller to play old NES games in the past, however I'd love to pick up one of those NES controllers for PC.

    71jW9hmmHpL._SL1500_.jpg
     
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