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Re: horizontal vs. vertical navigation


From: Nathalie Sequeira
Date: Sep 3, 2012 8:04AM

Hello Benjamin and Diana,

thanks for your takes on this.

>> I am currently needing to decide between horizontal and vertical
>> navigation for a website redesign.
>> To make sure a maximum amount of people will be able to access the
>> information with ease, we have asked our local People First organization
>> which of the two models is more easily navigable for people with
>> cognitive difficulties.
>> While their confirmation that vertical navigation is definitely easier
>> to understand makes sense
> Interesting. What's the thinking here?
The thinking is that is is easier to understand hierarchic structure
when presented as a vertical list.
Following that reasoning, a horizontal navigation in a way uses 2 axes,
once horizontally for the main points, then vertically, to display the
Alas, it remains unclear HOW much more difficult horizontal navigation
actually is.

> Some off-the-cuff (likely fairly obvious) suggestions:
> * Make sure the distinction between different items in the navigation
> is clearly visually marked.
> * Ensure visible keyboard focus.
> * Keep the navigation short.
> * Avoid dropdowns.
Thanks for these, I think you have some very valid points there,
especially the distinction between nav items and shortness.
So perhaps deciding whether to dare a vertical navigation should depend
mainly on the complexity of information to be displayed (and there is no
absolute yes or no answer).
Following this logic, a simple site with only like 4 sections and no
subnav could do well horizontally, while a site that has a non - uniform
structure (some mainnav sections containing subnav while others don't)
may be more easily understandable as a vertical list.

If I find more tangible information on this I will definitely share here.

Thanks again,