Engaging Your Audience – MEGA MENUS!Posted by Jason Hawkins / September 16, 2011
Navigation design and usability are always hot topics with web designers and business owners alike. Since the late 90’s we’ve gone from loving drop-down menus to hating them and back to loving them again now in 2011. The latest idea in navigation design is the ‘mega menu’ – the mother of all drop-down menus.
You’ll find mega menus on a lot of large sites and online stores nowadays – Target, Brisbane 18 Footers Sailing Club, REI. Not only do they have a cool name, mega menus are a great way to more fully explain your content at a secondary navigational level, with icons, larger headings and explanatory text and engaging images and even widgets like search fields and maps.
Here are a few screenshots to demonstrate (click on the images to go to the websites):
The recently reworked ANZ website:
The news.com.au in its latest incarnation (main image above shows previous design):
We predict an explosion of this type of menu, at least until it’s overused and abused and we all grow to hate it like the fly-out menus of last week.
Some things to remember…
- Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should!
- Even though you have more room, keep your wording and link titles succinct and relevant.
- Use appropriate ICONs and images to suit your navigation structure.
- Don’t over-crowd the space.
Some practical examples where the Mega-menu could work for you:
- Large websites (50-100+ pages)
- Category or catalogue lists
- Multi-market service offering
- Search options (embed the form in the drop-down)