Author:

Sarah is a UX Engineer for Durham-based startup Adzerk. Adrienne is a graphic and print designer currently working from Syracuse, NY. We work together to create and build beautiful easy-to-use things at Kahnlab.com.

Showcase of Creative Navigation Menus: Good and Bad Examples

Good navigation is the main cornerstone of an effective website. In practice, however, it's often a tough challenge to come up with a meaningful, unambiguous way to organize, arrange, and display content to users; and it's often not much easier to find a visually interesting solution either. The wide adaption of JavaScript libraries like jQuery is making it increasingly easy to add various kinds of sleek animations to navigation design.

Design Intellection

For instance, many recent promo websites are essentially single page websites with an array of animation effects used to make navigation a smoother and richer user experience. We need to be very careful and cautious when using these dynamic effects in our designs. A simple, calm navigation is usually much more user-friendly than an evolved, dynamic one. Users want to use the website, not be baffled by the weird and hardly usable navigation. But that's not to say that a creative navigation should be avoided at all costs.

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Designing Memorable Websites: Showcase of Creative Designs

One of the main goals of having a website, whether it be a portfolio website or a business website, is to declare your presence on the Web. There are thousands upon thousands of websites out there; it's pretty well established that you are competing for your audience's interest and attention. To this end, it’s important to make those few seconds count when making a first impression.

Screenshot

There are many things happening in web design today. One of the interesting developments is the emergence of responsive web design, in which fluid grids, flexible images, and CSS media queries are used to create more adaptive layouts and hence more elegant user experiences. These designs can adapt to the browser's viewport, completely changing the layout or the overall design of the page altogether, to fit the available space.

We also see a rising popularity of soft :hover and :active/:focus-effects, where buttons, navigation items and links feel more responsive and engaging as well. The transitions are smooth, and often subtly or vividly animated. Another important development is of course the rich web typography, made possible with the emergence of font embedding services. We have much more freedom for our typographic decisions which is an opportunity to create more diverse, unique and therefore memorable designs.

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Showcase of Interesting Navigation Designs

Everyone is always looking for interesting and effective ways to organize their website and allow users to move about and find things. But there’s a fine line between unexpected and unusable. Three points to consider in any navigation scheme are consistency, user expectations and contextual clues.

Foundation Six Portfolio

If page is long and provides different levels of navigation, will users be able to find their way through the site and use proper navigation quickly? Forcing visitors to use certain keystrokes to navigate, rather than what they're used to, might be novel, but is that effective if you have to explain instructions prominently on your home page? Here are some examples for your reading pleasure.

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