Alternatives to a Drop-Down Menu That Will Improve your Website

Or, why you need to kill your drop-down menus

Published on
July 30, 2020

Your visitors don’t like your drop-down menus

Here’s something counter-intuitive: Your visitors don’t like your drop-down menus. Research shows that users find them annoying and are likely to skip main navigation pages because

"Hey, some new stuff just dropped down!".

In the planning stages and even up to launching the website I frequently circle back to the conversation of using drop down menus versus the alternatives. This article written by Gill Andrews does a great job explaining the reasons it makes sense to use the alternatives for the best user experience.

Making users suffer a drop-down menu […] is one of many small annoyances that add up to a less efficient, less pleasant user experience. It’s worth fixing as many of these usability irritants as you can.

Nielsen Norman Group

This is the summary from the article:

4 alternatives to a drop-down menu that will improve your website

  1. If you have only one drop-down item: either put it as a top-level navigation item or remove it.
  2. If it makes sense, combine the info on the separate pages from the drop-down menu and make one page out of it (for example, if you have a drop-down menu under “About” top-level navigation item).
  3. If you have a Services drop-down menu: either use only a top-level “Services” item that leads to a dedicated “Services” page or, if you offer only 1-2 services, remove the “Services” navigation item and link to the corresponding services directly from your top-level navigation
  4. If you have no choice but to offer your visitors many navigation options, use a mega menu.

Whatever you do, make sure you keep your navigation menu short, descriptive and clear.

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