Where can I find the content on a website that interests me? This or a similar question is often asked by users when they visit a website for the first time. To guide users to the content they are looking for, a suitable navigation concept is needed. Otherwise, the content they are looking for will be difficult to find and they will leave the site.
What is navigation?
A navigation of a website is usually understood as the lists of content categories or functions that users visually perceive as menu items. These lists are usually presented as a group of links or icons and usually link to internal pages.
Over the years, there have been new concepts and ideas for how users can navigate a website. Below we will go over a few navigation concepts and briefly introduce them.
Horizontal Navigation Bar / Top-Bar Navigation
The most common navigation concept is the Top-Bar Navigation or also called Horizontal Navigation Bar. This navigation is characterized by a horizontal bar, which is often placed directly above or below the page header. The menu items are displayed next to each other and represent the primary navigation of the website. This menu bar remains identical throughout the site, even when users are on a subpage. This feature makes it easier for users to return to the main pages of the website at any time.
Furthermore, the top bar / navigation bar is often the top entry point of a website and serves as a good navigation concept for very simple websites (landing pages or one-pagers), as well as for complex websites (online stores). As soon as the navigation architecture depicts many different hierarchies, the top bar navigation can be extended via a drop-down or a mega menu.
This navigation concept is particularly suitable for a small number of menu items on the primary navigation level. Although there is no defined limit, the menu bar usually includes 6 - 9 menu items. In addition to the limiting width of the menu bar, factors such as the font and font size must also be taken into account.