Get your mind out of the gutter.  I’m talking about persistent navigation.  But of course (wink)!

At Bluetext, we are designing and producing websites for the most exciting brands of all sizes across a multitude of industries.  We live in the cross section of trends. We see things happening cross markets, and that can be essential when looking at user behaviors and preferences when needing to grab their attention and entice them to engage with a brand. And that means when we see a trend that is becoming more prevalent across platforms, we take notice.

The biggest new user-interface trend we are seeing today is navigation on the left side of the screen. Clients are calling this:

  • Unique
  • Different
  • Fresh
  • Smart

For us, this is going full-cycle, back to first-generation sites that were left dominant. But this isn’t your father’s left nav. These left navigation paradigms lock. They personalize.  They respond to resolution and device and browser. They have many ways to expand and drill into the subpages structure of the site map with ease.

We see great brands like Qualcomm, VW, and Riverbed, all moving to left navigation systems.

Are you thinking about going left vs top for an upcoming site redesign?  Here are five things to consider in making this decision:

  1. Is desktop a heavy user-base? If yes, then investing in slick navigation can pay off handsomely. If no, then it may not be worth the effort to do an adaptive responsive navigation module.
  2. Is your sitemap narrow and deep? If you answer yes, then you’re a strong candidate for a left nav.If you answer no and you have a bloated tier one navigation, then best to leave it alone.
  3. Does your brand logo work in the narrow navigation plate system? Many brand systems don’t contemplate this web application possibility.  They also don’t have rules about stacking text about the logo mark. Or they show no name at all, just the logo icon.
  4. When you look at sites like Riverbed’s, you see the logo move over on scroll down. And when you look sites like ATT’s, you see they are throwing out the word all together.  Just like Starbucks is doing everywhere.
  5. Is your target demographic a savvy web user audience? If you answer no, then consider a small user focus group to ensure they learn and adapt to the new navigation system paradigm with ease.  If not, plan on going top navigation.

Here are some more sites that go left nav (or quasi left nav):

Thinking about redesigning your website.  Contact Bluetext