Web designing is a continuously evolving field where those that fail to adapt to shifting trends find themselves lost to the competition. With the advent of 2017, a multitude of new web designs has entered the market which boasts high functionality and uniqueness among other positive traits.
Developing successful web designs is a trial-and-error method, where a vast pool of specifications and factors are considered before development. While some fail to catch on, others are a big hit and become the new trending designs.
Among the navigation designs, the following 11 are by far enjoying a huge margin of success and predictions are they will continue being relevant because of their cohesion and versatility with regards to different websites. If you are developing a new website, it would be a good idea to integrate these navigation trends to increase both its popularity and functionality while providing a remarkable user-friendly experience.
- Fixed Scrolling Navigation Bars
The main purpose of navigation is to provide a way for users to access all parts of a website from a specific point. Users always appreciate a design which permits them to move to any part of the website from the specific page, which is achieved by locking the navigation menu in place.
Both functionality and usability across different platforms are important factors to consider during development, which is conveniently covered by the fixed nav-bar. It is a highly adaptable and useful for mobile platforms, where scrolling back to the top can become a hassle.
Since positive feedback from a large number of users, the function has been added into CSS and jQuery plugins and many themes come loaded with the fixed position nav-bar. With the majority of websites catching on to the trend, it is highly predictable that it will continue being relevant and may even become a benchmark.
It is a good solution to fix the nav-bar for websites where the navigation items are in large quantities. It aids the visitors, which in turn improves user experience that ultimately attracts more visitors and the page views for the site increases as a result.
The area must be kept in consideration when choosing the size of nav-bar. It should be large enough to be usable but not so that it begins blocking out the on-page content. This way, the visitors can access all the website content conveniently.
- Mega Menus
With the increasing popularity of magazine blogs and websites providing such content, development at their end has been stressed upon. Mega menus are among the most popular of navigation designs since they provide content in a detailed yet concise manner. Being a modified version of drop down menus, they don’t just roll down but adjust according to the page whilst covering a larger portion of content within them.
Although mega menus are enjoying recognition, it would be wise to remember that they are not suited for all kinds of websites. Their implementation can only be justified if there is enough content available for the mega menus to be actually needed. Because they contain data within, they are perfectly suited for magazine-type websites.
Large chunks of content are a huge turn off for visitors if they are unable to identify its relevancy to their searches, which often results in page abandonment. Instead of going through the entirety of content, visitors can simply check the mega menus, identify relevant content and jump to it.
However, they cannot be implemented for mobile platforms since the screen size become a constraint. Even so, there exists a vast majority of desktop and tablet users for whom mega menus are a working solution. Always keep in mind the nature of the site and audience profiles when implementing mega menus.
- Universal Navigation
Some organizations manage businesses of multiple natures and even though they are owned by the same company, it is unwise to link them together if they are unrelated. In some cases, it is a smart decision to mention the brands together, which can be achieved with universal navigation on the website. For example, Pepsico is the parent company for Frito Lays, Gatorade, Quaker among many others. For them, mentioning their brands along with others is a suitable strategy since they are all food brands.
Universal Navigation is a form of a fixed navigation that advertises your other products or services your company has to offer so that they are promoted equally. This stellar navigation is a marketing tool as it puts all the brands that belong your business so that it appears on upfront on every page a user visits. For e-commerce websites, it is extremely fruitful when you want users to explore every portion of the website.
A celestial navigation helps you to handle a larger network of products or brands. It also helps you link them all together so that you can drive the visitors across the whole network and interbreed the different audiences. However, it only works perfect with a large website that has too much products and websites to offer.
The first and foremost advantage of fixed navigation bar is the ease is in browsing and increased speed. An up front main menu of options is major feature when it comes to an sustain an impatient user especially when a website has an exhaustive amount of content to offer.
Having multiple brands to cater to through websites becomes a challenging task, especially their promotion. Linking them together promotes them symbiotically and helps the user identify other relevant brands that the website offers. This sends visitors from one website to the other, which increases overall site visitors.
The popularity of universal navigation is unquestionable. Most of the users prefer the sticky navigation, and when given a choice between the two interfaces, i.e., without bars or with bars, they will go for the later. This analogy is certainly persuasive and a convincing argument in favor of fixed navigation.
The constraints for universal navigation are organization size, products, and services. Although their advantages are limited to them, the results without a doubt are compelling to add this navigation design into your website if it comprises a large network.
- Vertical Sliding Navigation
Although vertical sliding navigation offers many useful features, there are just a limited number of websites which make the most out of it. They can usually be seen on creative agencies which develop web designs different from those currently in the market.
Recently, their usage is on the rise and considering their usability, it is a good bet that they will experience even more recognition over the course of this year.
Vertical sliding navigation is the perfect design if you wish to transition from a grid design to full-screen layout. But developing a functional vertical navigation is a difficult task and managing its responsive designs is also challenging. Nevertheless, it is an unorthodox design which instills a breath of fresh air to your website and adds uniqueness if you are daring enough to try it out.
- Globally Hidden Menus
Although even beginner web designers are aware of the impact of hamburger icons on web design, there is an increasing number of websites which permanently stow away the navigation. Even though it may seem confusing at first since it disables the user from searching relevant links, it does provide more screen room.
New studies are refuting previous research that users have problems concerning interaction with hidden menus. This is because there are a greater number of users with smartphones and advanced hardware, which has increased awareness about them and hamburger icons can now be used effectively.
Users who are aware of technology and designs are aware what hamburger icons are and know they represent hidden menus. Although it does add a futuristic, tech-savvy touch, it is preferable to refrain from adding this design to the website, unless the site itself concerns technology and business where the audience is already knowledgeable and the interface boasts enhancement with its integration.
- Responsive Sub-Nav Menus
Developing for mobile platforms is vital for success since a huge number of users access websites through their smartphones and tablets. Thus, keeping in mind mobile responsive navigation is fundamental for operative website development. Cutting out content such as navigation links does create a better suited and adapted website for mobiles but the content, in the end, is blocked from view.
However, developers have been quick to take notice of the issue and a design solution on the rise is to include links in drop-down menus. This is achieved by adding a hamburger navigation icon which shows the links when clicked on.
This design is implemented on mobile platforms and tablets which have smaller windows and thus can display a limited amount of content clearly.
It doesn’t matter what platform the visitor is accessing your website; they have the right to view all content and developers must provide a design which permits them to do so. Responsive sub-nav menus are perfectly suited for this matter as they provide omitted content in an arranged drop-down menu.
To distinguish the sub-nav icon from another icon to separate their functionality, they should be colored differently or have icons which represent they provide sub-menus.
- Top Stories Carousels
A rising trend, top stories carousels are being added on blogs and sites which deal with news related content. These websites are teeming with fresh content and can churn out even above a hundred unique articles in a day.
Visitors can easily know the latest additions if a carousel is added at the top of the page. They can be represented in bullets or thumbnails and the links updated manually or automatically.
If the blog features a large amount of content, adding top stories carousel is perfect to gain visitor attention and draw them towards the latest content. Visitors become aware that the site is active and publishes fresh content, which captivates their interest. Instead of skimming through the content, they can check what is new from the carousel and view it.
- Table of Contents
Being the largest search engine, Google is the deciding authority on ranks and appearing on the top searches is only possible by adhering to the standards set by it. Google favors long form content, which has prompted content writers to create DIYs, guides and other data to attract Google’s attention. Even though it holds the potential to promote rankings, there is a fat chance of that happening if the content itself is unreadable.
This issue can be resolved with by integrating a table of contents, which divides the article into sections and simply by clicking on the links it provides, you can move to that specific sector.
User experience is among the top factors Google considers, and ToC is the perfect way to harness the power of lengthy guides without scaring away visitors. The first reaction of a visitor upon viewing lengthy content is that of despair, as they will have to fish out relevant content. That is where ToC comes to the rescue by providing sub-headings of the article and the ability to move to that part by simply clicking.
ToCs are the perfect navigation tool to increase your website quality and rankings, since they provide enhanced user experience & the ability to make the most out of lengthy content. What’s more, they are an integral part of increasing search engine rankings.
- All-Caps Corner Links
Although it has been implemented for a few years now, all-caps corner links are slowly on the rise and ranging from startups to large organizations, everyone is using them. Some of the features they share are the text being all in uppercase the font being small, large spacing and color ranging from light blue to being white.
It has been accepted as a norm, if not benchmark for professional standards because it presents the website with a clean format which is readable and easy for users to navigate.
Since they have been unofficially been recognized as a professional standard, their implementation is a must. They present the link in a formatted way which is easy for visitors to pick out and the color itself instills a trusting feeling.
If your website is for a startup of any nature, adding this design is a foolproof way to ensure visitors remain on the site and explore the links you have provided.
- Single Page Dot Navigation
Dot navigation is among the newest of designs developed as a result of the advent of single page apps and websites. On the right or left side of the screen are icons which divide the layout among themselves. Clicking on them moves the screen to that part of the page, which removes the necessity to manually scroll. Although they provide high functionality, they lack UX, which means users are unable to understand what they represent and are unable to utilize them properly. Because they provide functionality, it is safe to say they will become a standard in the near future as their implementation becomes commonplace.
If developing for single page websites and applications, it is suitable to choose top navigation, but single page dot navigation is also a suitable replacement, which offers its own set of advantages. It ends the need to scroll and the entire page can be accessed from the same screen. It also offers a strong combination with top navigation, where text links and icons combine to provide an unparalleled user experience.
- Card-style Navigation
Cart-style navigation is an amazing alternate for content publishers, artists, photographers, and eCommerce websites to showcase most of the store items on the home page. For reference, you can evaluate the navigation style of Pinterest that is highly popular for sharing visual content in card styles. It displays different boards in cards that take the users to another card-like preview of pinned images.
A variety of websites is trying this navigation style to display the visuals with a phrase that may lead to complete information about that specific page. The eCommerce websites can take benefit of card-style navigation by showcasing the core image with its product name in a card on the home that links the users to its dedicated page.
One of the core advantages of a card-based navigation is that the information is displayed in chunks. This ease the users in quickly scan the whole page and click the one they are looking for. The home page of a website needs to be managed in a way that covers most of the topics, products, or services. So, card-style navigation can put in place to manage all the content in the limited available space. Furthermore, the card-like content is visually appealing and attractive.
Honestly, there is no certainty in the web design world, and changes occur rapidly and abruptly. Increased mobile usage and more awareness among the users are the primary cause of subtle changes. These factors are like a challenge for developers to think out of the box and come up with something new and innovative and as well as highly responsive and user-friendly. The above mentioned have lead 2017 navigation trends and will surely help your business websites too.
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