Full day training course

Information Architecture: Day 2

Navigation components and menu styles

Usable navigation allows users to seamlessly move throughout your website or application. To create an effective and extensible navigation system, you must understand the possible navigation components and styles that support both your business needs and your users’ tasks and capabilities.

In this seminar, we’ll explore a broad range of specific navigation components and menu styles and give you the tools you need to make informed navigation design decisions.

Topics covered

  • Purpose of navigation
  • Orientation, route selection and arrival
  • Navigation as part of the UX system
    • When to define navigation
    • Which navigation components to use
    • How to test navigation
  • Fighting requests for Wow! factor design that is not user-friendly
  • Top attributes of effective navigation systems
  • Flow comparison
  • Tier comparison
  • Process for defining a navigation system 
  • Global navigation: placement, orientation and behavior
    • Tabs
    • Static links
    • Roll-overs
    • Fly-outs
    • Cascades
    • Horizontal vs. vertical orientation
  • Local navigation
    • When to introduce local navigation
    • What to include in local navigation: Understanding parent, child, and sibling pages
    • E-commerce variations
    • Deep-site strategies: mini navigation and roll-up navigation
    • Placement: right versus left
    • Floating menus
  • Navigation for discovery
    • Related links
    • Social filters
    • Tag clouds
    • Filmstrips
  • Faceted search: integrating search and browse
    • Single versus multiple selection
    • Set-clear-set interaction pattern
    • Placement
    • Intuitive controls
  • Navigation for task support
    • Utility menu
    • Quicklinks
  • Elements for creating structure
    • Spatial navigation
    • Site maps
    • Breadcrumbs
    • Process navigation
    • Pagination
    • Footers
    • Related links


This course is an interactive lecture. You will learn to apply and practice new principles and techniques through in-depth exercises, while staying grounded in the research that supports them. Individually, and in groups, you will evaluate and redesign a website’s existing navigation system.

The course also includes:

  • Findings from our own usability studies, including eyetracking
  • Videos from user testing showing people's behavior in response to a design
  • Screenshots of designs that work and don’t work, and why
  • Opportunities to ask questions and get answers

Attendee Feedback

"It is a great condensed class that focuses on the relationship between IA and navigation. Very helpful." 
"Get clarity and confirm how to use elements in web pages to get where you need." 
"The content of the course provided structure to development and design. The combo of theories and examples are really useful."

Companion Course

Information Architecture: Day 1 is a companion course to Information Architecture: Day 2. Each course can be taken independently. Information Architecture: Day 1 covers:

  • How to structure and organize your site...before delving into design
  • Choosing hierarchy models, organizational schemes, label names
  • Dealing with metadata, taxonomy and search 
  • Methods for designing, documenting, and evaluating your IA


Garrett Goldfield

Garrett Goldfield is a User Experience Specialist at Nielsen Norman Group with 20 years of practical experience. At Nielsen Norman Group, Goldfield has consulted for clients in a broad range of industries, including e-commerce, automotive, health care, financial, media, telecommunications, education, art and non-profits, as well as highly specialized B2B sites. Read more about Garrett

Katie Sherwin

Katie Sherwin is a User Experience Specialist with Nielsen Norman Group. She specializes in helping organizations utilize principles of user-centered design and strategic communication to achieve their goals. Read more about Katie

Kathryn Whitenton

Kathryn Whitenton is a Senior User Experience Specialist with the Nielsen Norman Group. She works with clients to evaluate the usability and information architecture of websites in a variety of industries including technology, telecommunications, and media, as well as corporate intranets. She has conducted usability research, eyetracking user research, and studies of users on mobile devices in the United States, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Her user studies have included general audiences as well as specific consumer types, business segments, children, and seniors. Read more about Kathryn

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