University Web Developers

University Web Developers

Vertical vs Horizontal Global Navigation (any usability studies?)

Are there any case studies or data on the usability of vertical navigation on higher education websites? I'm referring to vertical global navigation, which would also include vertical navigation for lower level sites. 

The only references I came across (not specific to higher ed) are this article http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2010/01/11/the-case-against-vertica... and this blog post - http://www.usefulusability.com/main-navigation-types-and-usability-.... Is there more definitive information out there? I'm trying to build a case against going with a new site design that features vertical navigation.

The biggest drawback I see for implementing vertical global navigation is poor usability. Given the large amount of content typically found on a higher ed sites, need to serve multiple audiences, many lower level pages I think it's hard to navigate sites with vertical nav. As you get deeper into lower level department sites the navigation tends to extend further down the page which might force you to scroll up or down on the page to access the page content or links in the vertical navigation. 

Appreciate any thoughts or suggestions.

Thanks,

Doug

Views: 2324

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

I'll look forward to answers as they come in on this one- we have both horizontal and vertical nav...........

Thanks Sarah. Just to clarify, I'm talking about just a vertical navigation for global nav and subsite nav. My feeling is that most visitors to higher ed sites are use to a IA convention of having a horizontal global primary nav and then a vertical subsite navigation once you get level pages off the homepage, e.g., Admission, Academics, Campus Life, and vertical nav for lower level department pages.

Hope this makes sense. There are sites out there that use an entirely vertical navigation (with no horizontal nav for global nav links) so I'm looking for any usability data that takes about the pros and cons of this approach.

Thanks,

Doug

HMM. I see. Yes, we have a vertical nav on our homepage currently, but its not global and we are actually looking to remove it now. If I run across any global-level usability stuff in my travels, I'll know where to post it!

I don't know of any specific studies, but I agree that the majority of higher ed sites use horizontal primary and vertical secondary navs. This is something I've been thinking a lot about lately as we update our core templates to build in responsive features. I don't think a combined global and secondary vertical nav would work well. Depending on the design it could be too much to scan and gets in the way of valuable real estate.

Our global nav is horizontal and is featured on every single page. Individual sites, such as this one,  have a title bar, and then their own primary horizontal nav below it. Within each main section, or tab, there is a vertical nav which can support up to two levels. I have sometimes wondered if having two horizontal navs would be confusing, but so far informal and anecdotal data shows that it works fairly well. I'm also working to remove dropdown/flyout menus across the board because in a lot of cases its overkill, and is hard to use on mobile/touch devices.

tl;dr - a vertical global nav for the whole site doesn't make much sense IMHO. I think a horizontal layout, combined with a visual tab metaphor, is the way to go.

RSS

Elsewhere

Latest Activity

Sara Kisseberth posted a discussion

Archived magazine stories

Greetings,What are you all doing online with "old" magazine stories? Do you delete issues after so  many years? 5 years? 10? I'm torn between keeping all on for historical purposes or keeping just a few years online to simplify the site (ala Gerry McGovern.) Curious as to what you see best practices being.ThanksSara KisseberthBluffton Universitywww.bluffton.eduSee More
Jun 10
Erin Jorgensen posted a discussion

HighEdWeb 2020 Accessibility Summit

The HighEdWeb 2020 Accessibility Summit is a one-day, online conference about digital accessibility in higher education happening June 25, 2020, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. CDT.Join in to learn best practices, share stories and connect with your higher ed peers on topics including social media accessibility, web development, user experience and more. Sessions are designed to boost knowledge at every level, from accessibility beginners to technical experts. Conference registration is $25, with…See More
May 29
Erin Jorgensen is now a member of University Web Developers
May 29
Christine Boehler posted a discussion

HighEdWeb 2020 Annual Conference - ONLINE

October 19-20, 2020https://2020.highedweb.org/#HEWeb20     Join us ONLINE for HighEdWeb 2020, the conference created by and for higher education professionals across all departments and divisions. Together we explore and find solutions for the unique issues facing digital teams at colleges and universities. In 2020, the Conference will be held completely online, offering multiple tracks of streamed presentations, live…See More
May 3
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Throughout April, we're hosting webcasts exploring how colleges and universities across North America are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Register for the series today! https://bit.ly/2xsXhK9"
Apr 13
Christelle Lachapelle is now a member of University Web Developers
Apr 6
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Download our latest white paper to learn how the demographics of today’s higher ed learners are shifting, and how schools can adapt to meet the needs of these new learners. https://bit.ly/2wTKdgB"
Mar 31
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Join our next webcast with Amrit Ahluwalia from The EvoLLLution to learn about the new "modern learner" in higher education. https://bit.ly/2UuDh2I"
Mar 30
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"As we ride out the latest developments and impact of the coronavirus, there's no better time than now to learn the three Bs of crisis planning. http://bit.ly/2ITVkc2"
Mar 16
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Is your college or university prepared to meet the challenges that come with disasters and emergencies like the coronavirus? Learn how your CMS can help. http://bit.ly/2TUZUM8"
Mar 12
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Can’t afford the time and money to launch a comprehensive guided pathways model? Register for our FREE webcast to learn tricks for simulating a digital guided pathways experience."
Feb 21
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"With college enrollment decreasing for the 8th year in a row, boosting your college or university marketing efforts is more important than ever. Here's how to get started. http://bit.ly/2vTQAzz"
Feb 20
Christine Boehler posted a discussion

HighEdWeb 2020 Annual Conference

October 18-21, 2020 in Little Rock, Arkansas, USAhttps://2020.highedweb.org/#HEWeb20     Join us for HighEdWeb 2020, the conference created by and for higher education professionals across all departments and divisions. Together we explore and find solutions for the unique issues facing digital teams at colleges and universities. With 100+ diverse sessions, an outstanding keynote presentation, intensive workshops, and engaging networking events,…See More
Feb 19
Christine Boehler posted a discussion

HighEdWeb 2020 Call for Proposals is Open!

The 2020 Annual Conference of the Higher Education Web Professionals Association (HighEdWeb) will travel to Little Rock, Arkansas, this October 18-21 — and the call for proposals is now open! As a digital professional in higher education, we know you have great ideas and experiences to share. From developers, marketers and programmers to managers, designers, writers and all team members in-between, HighEdWeb provides valuable professional development for all who want to explore the unique…See More
Feb 14
Christine Boehler shared Sara Clark's discussion on Facebook
Feb 14
Christine Boehler is now a member of University Web Developers
Feb 14
Brian Bell joined Kevin Daum's group
Feb 14
Brian Bell joined Mark Greenfield's group
Feb 14
Kenneth George is now a member of University Web Developers
Feb 13
John Sterni is now a member of University Web Developers
Feb 6

UWEBD has been in existence for more than 10 years and is the very best email discussion list on the Internet, in any industry, on any topic

About

© 2020   Created by Mark Greenfield.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service