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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.

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.

Further Reading on SmashingMag: Link

Made by Water Link

A JavaScript-Powered Vertical Fun Link

The large bold headings and modern color palette on Made by Water5 feel fresh and fun. The grid layout is nice and clear, while the background texture is subtle but interesting. The icons at the top are visually appealing, and the animation makes them fun to click. It’s not immediately apparent what they are for, though. Some text would help to clarify that they are for navigation.

Made By Water6
Vertical navigation buttons with icons.

The other problem with the navigation is the yellow “up” arrow that is displayed in the footer of the page. One would expect it to bring you back to the top of the page, but it leaves you more in the middle. The circle of stripes that follows you down as you scroll doesn’t match the background pattern, but we can’t tell if it’s part of the navigation. At any rate, we clicked it to no effect.

Finally, while the text at the top is fun and exciting, finding the “Who am I” section is a bit hard. It’s not immediately clear what the website is about.

Made in Haus Link

Horizontal Slideshow as Navigation Link

The large page keeps Made in Haus7 from feeling unoriginal, and the smooth motion is a bit different from many of the sliders we’ve seen. Bumping the accompanying text up into the body of each slide is a good way to keep it above the fold and visible as the user flips through the slides. The sliders on the sub-pages are also effective, being an easy way to skim through a fair amount of content. Also, nice hover-effects under the slideshow look attractive and give an insight into the work of the agency.

Made in Haus8
Bold horizontal navigation.

One drawback is that the triangle on the far right of the upper navigation menu is a bit confusing. It appears to link to the home page, as a logo would, but we’re not quite sure why. Also, the arrow on the right side of the slideshow may be a bit too tiny, making it a bit difficult for users to navigate the slideshow. We’ve seen a similar navigation earlier, on Weightshift9 which is a nice example of an alternative implementation of this technique.

Foundation Six Link

Animated Text Scrolls Down With the User Link

Foundation Six features a few big bold screenshots at the center of the page, giving us the impression that they were interactive in some way. The first thing that we did was try to click on the screenshots, but nothing happened (except for the central one which links to the description of the project featured in the center of the page), which was a little frustrating.

Foundation Six Portfolio
Text moves instead of images.

The headings are large and very clear, and the type is handled nicely throughout. The color palette is very soft and clean, and it nicely matches the atmosphere of the site. The call-to-actions buttons are large and easy to find, read and click. The subtle hover effects in the upper navigation enhance the user experience, making it smooth. Additionally, the contact form tracks well and is nicely laid out, while the map is a nice touch. The company scores bonus points for linking to Bring Down IE6.

On the projects page, the way the explanatory text slides down instead of the images is original. But being so unexpected, it could be a little disorienting, which may or may not be a good thing: is explanatory text really the best place to make a statement with moving parts?

Word Refuge Link

Textual Content in a Horizontal Slider Link

Word Refuge10 features an old-fashioned bookish vibe. Because it is a copywriting service, this seems appropriate. The contact form is prominent, easy to find and easy to use. The logo is also nicely done, and the color palette is rich and regal.

Word Refuge11
Various arguments for the company are organized into slides.

One small point is that the tag lines in the main navigation are effective under some of the menu items but not under others. Some of them feel redundant, as if they’re there only to balance things out. As a rule, if text doesn’t add any explanation, it shouldn’t be there. That said, the text throughout the website is nicely kerned, and while the page is wordy, the text is easy to skim through and read.

Relogik Link

Animated Horizontal Slideshow Navigation Link

Relogik12 is another example of minimalism done well. The logo is understated and sophisticated. Most design elements are semi-transparent and appear on hover. The close-up images are bold and make the content the focal point of the page. The code is clean and well-structured and uses a solid grid layout with pulls to keep everything squared up.

Relogik Design & Innovation13
Sliding horizontal navigation.

The classic numeric navigation makes it easy to navigate the slideshow. One weakness is that the contact information has a very low contrast against the background. A darker color would help to highlight it. The project detail pages do a good job of showing rather than telling and of displaying each piece in a real-world context.

Drexler Link

Horizontal Navigation… If the User Follows Instructions Link

The horizontal navigation on Drexler14 works both with the arrow keys and mouse clicks. On the first glance, it’s not clear how to navigate the site: you need to either read the hint in the upper area of the site (“User your arrows”) or experiment with the design to figure it out. To browse blog posts, users need to click on the illustration of the post or use keyboard arrows. The design itself is visually appealing, but the navigation scheme isn’t straightforward.

“Use your arrows” to navigate.

The retro color palette and big bold fonts make the website colorful and energetic, but they also might be a little overpowering. The “t” for Twitter in the upper right is an interesting break from the usual little bird, but the downside of breaking with convention is that you might lose clarity. We didn’t know what the icon was for until we clicked it, and we probably wouldn’t have clicked it if we were merely visiting the website as a normal user. The contact button is amazing indeed, as it claims. The multi-column contact form is an interesting take on the email form. It seems effective, and it tracks very well. This is a design that needs to be explored to be understood — but maybe it was the intention of the designer in the first place?

The logo is simple and clean, but again, it adds a note of confusion. The yellow underline on mouse-over feels unbalanced, because the rest of the logo isn’t highlighted. One other thing to note is that the page changes color to match the project being displayed. This is an unusual take on the portfolio. Usually, projects are displayed uniformly, sometimes to the point of being indistinguishable. This approach makes the projects stand out, in a good way.

Komrade Link

Vertical Navigation With a Twist Link

This page allows users to forge their own path through the website. Komrade16 features original illustrations, a fresh color palette and an original “Choose Your Own Adventure”-style navigation scheme. The navigation has the following cracks in it, though:

  1. The light blue text looks like it’s hyperlinked. One of the first things a user sees upon loading the page is the blue “Who’s Komrade” heading. The first thing we did was click it, but nothing happened. This started the user experience off on the wrong foot. With this unusual scrolling navigation, distinguishing the clickable from the unclickable is extremely important.
  2. The numbered navigation for Komrade’s past work does not stand out enough. The red circles look like yet more flowers, which caused us to pass over them several times before figuring out that they were the navigation. This goes back to the clickable/unclickable issue. Well-placed labels would go a long way here.

Komrade Web Design17
“Choose Your Own Adventure”-style navigation.

All For Design Link

Scrolling Navigation and “Shelf”-Navigation Link

All For Design feels light and airy, with its crisp woodcut headings and subtle effects such as the Twitter icon that flies on hover. The design os single projects pages is especially nice, making clear exactly what was involved in each project. The section “some inspiration” nicely puts books, useful websites and articles on a “shelf” and has subtle shadow- and hover-effects. The only problem is that the title-attribute is displayed on hover together with the screenshot which makes it a bit difficult to focus on one of them.

All For Design

All For Design
Calendar next to the contact form.

The calendar next to the contact form is also a great idea: it sets expectations and makes it easy for potential clients to plot a timeline. While the font is scannable, it still feels a bit too wordy overall, although the shadow effects, subtle borders and custom icons keep the eye flowing down the page.

Digital Labs Link

Horizontal or Vertical Navigation? Link

With the prominent screenshots on this website, one would think the page would have horizontal navigation; in fact, the page is static. Digital Labs18 uses a wide layout, with a nice textured background. The dark colors make it feel spacious without being too spacey. One issue, though, is that the orange ribbon on the right looks like it should be clickable, but it isn’t. The text-based social media widget, which responds to mouse-over, is an interesting touch. The web design scene is full of social media icons, so a text-based widget stands out.

Digital Labs Portfolio19
The static screenshots above look like a slideshow.

The other issue is that the “Are you ready to get started?” link at the bottom is a mailto: link, rather than a link to a contact form. This is acceptable, but a drop-down form in that space would really kick things up a notch.

Calobee Doodles Link

Classic Thumbnail and Lightbox Combination Link

Calobee Doodles, an illustration-based portfolio website, has fun details, such as the objects and people falling from the sky. The cloud menu items could be clearer, though. At first, we were not sure what “Custom” stands for (it stands for custom design and illustration work). However, the menu benefits from descriptive tooltips and appear on hover. Still, a different wording, for instance “Work”, would have been clearer.

Calobee Doodles
The website uses the classic thumbnail and lightbox navigation.

A thumbnail gallery is a common way to display work, but in this case illustration thumbnails are a bit too small, and they are linked to images. A lightbox may work better in this context. The bottom-up-navigation may be useful for some readers, and the footer is truly remarkable. Also, it would be nice to remove dotted lines appearing on click in the navigation menu. A simple outline: none; for links with proper styles for :focus and :active states would suffice.

Build Link

Classic Top-Level Navigation Link

While the overall layout of Build20 is clean and modern, the content could stand to be more easily scannable, for two reasons for this. A look at that code suggests that the margins and padding are a bit arbitrary. The padding for the main body conforms to a design pattern, but the major content elements do not. Maybe it would be a good idea to use multiples of a set base number for the margins, padding and borders, so that there is a consistent ratio throughout.

Classic top-level navigation.

Secondly, the contrast of the text in the content sections has some problems. The contrast between strong white and strong grey background is very striking, and maybe a bit too strong. The second part of the page looks a bit busy and a bit difficult to scan, probably because the colors of the headings and descriptions are very similar. Maybe if the headings were kept as a serif, the content blocks could be distinguished a bit by making the text lighter and using a sans-serif font. Some textual variation or typographic work might add visual interest as well. Subtle hover effects for links are attractive and fun to click on: nice touch!

We liked the listserv sign-up widget in the footer of the page. A sample email in the relevant field, along with more space on the line, could be a helpful, though. Also, an explanation of what exactly users are meant to type here would be great — for instance, a sample e-mail in the input field. Also, the mouse pointer should change after you click on the submit-button, but in this case it doesn’t. We fumbled a bit at first until we looked at the code.

Mail Chimp Link

Graphics-Heavy Vertical Page With No Navigation Other Than Browser Scroll Bar Link

Mailchimp’s promo page is a visually appealing website with a lot of interesting vintage graphics. Some real strengths of this website are the many interesting textures and patterns. The color scheme is modern and appealing. There are, however, a few usability problems. First, there is actually no navigation. We’re as big a fan of shedding unnecessary conventions as the next guy, but if we were an existing customer visiting this website, we would have no idea what to do. The “Sign in” link is obscured at the bottom of the page, with few visual cues to reward the user’s patience as they scroll down. Even a few small links at the top would add some structure and provide some cues for navigation, which would make the whole website make more sense.

Mail Chimp Social Promotional Site
Graphics-heavy vertical website.

Secondly, the edgy graphics, while fun and visually interesting, don’t give much sense of what the main point of the page actually is (if you are visiting the site for the first time). The primary message is only delivered in the paragraph towards the middle, and even it is a bit hard to read, with the small white text over the shades of gray. The paragraph would be more effective if it were bigger and had more contrast. The promotional videos are really great and remarkable, though.

Pline Studios Link

Minimalism in Vertical JavaScript-Based Navigation Link

Pline studios22 is an architecture firm, so it makes sense for it to have a spacious vertical layout with graphic touches that are reminiscent of CADD drawings. The big headings are clean and visually appealing and do a great job of leading the eye around. In an unconventional navigation scheme, making it clear where to click is critical, and this website makes it extremely clear. The navigation is repeated in each section, so the user is never stranded and left to scroll.

One problem, though, is the project descriptions; so much focus is on the images and animations that there’s actually very little explanation about the projects themselves.

Pline Studios of Architecture23
Minimal vertical navigation.

Transformology Link

Persistent Toolbar-Navigation Link

Transformology24 shows another way to handle navigation on a vertical page. When the user scrolls the page, the navigation menu at the top of the site changes accordingly. The elaborate headings in the text blocks are visually appealing, but almost to the disadvantage of the content that should be showcased. The headings make the content easy to see but more difficult to read. The website has a clean, solid grid layout, but it may not always do an effective job of displaying the content, which sometimes feels overpowering.

Transformology Portfolio25
Static navigation follows wherever you go.

Burton Link

Sliding Captions and Tabbed Boxes in a Vertical Layout Link

The first thing we noticed about Burton26 is the nice visual details, such as the animated eyes on the “Search and Destroy” search box, and the animated GIF on the mouse-over logo. The jigsaw layout is clean, bold and easy to scan. The mouse-over labels are a good way to display details without overwhelming users with text, and the mini-tabbed layouts inside the content blocks keep things clean and minimal. All of the content is available without being visible all at once.

Burton Shop Site27
The scrolling vertical navigation is aided by the jigsaw sections with sliding captions.

A problem with the navigation, though, is the up and down arrows on the side of site’s pages. We expected that they would allow us to move up and down the page; instead, they pop out a text-based navigation menu. Not knowing what sections of the page correspond to the labels (for instance, when you visit the page for the first time), this isn’t very useful. Still, overall very nice, original and memorable design.

New Adventures in Web Design Link

Fun Shapes That Feel Like Navigation Link

At the first sight, the interactive shapes in the middle of the New Adventures28 page feel a bit like navigation, in that they change as you move through the website, providing cues that the page has changed. New Adventures is an example of a clean and solidly structured design. The rainbow of dynamically transforming shapes is fun and original. Adding more color could make the design a bit stronger; the brown palette is calm and professional, but it probably could have been be more interesting with some accent colors.

New Adventures in Web Design29
The shapes move all over the place!

The typography overall is effective, and the line heights and margins make the information very clear and concise. An interesting touch of the design would be to highlight the speaker’s photo when a user hovers over his or her name in the list of speakers. Also, when trying to return to the front page, we clicked on the text logo in the left upper corner (“New Adventures in Web Design”), but it isn’t clickable which is a bit confusing. We had to use the small “Home”-link in the upper left corner instead.

Christopher Kaufman Link

Wide Horizontal Slider With a Difference Link

On Christopher Kaufman’s page30, the sub-content panels slide up as the slider moves left to right. The layout is clean and organized, the background is colorful and unique, and the slideshow adds plenty of eye candy. The logo is minimal but detailed, and the top-level navigation is clear and effective. One drawback is that the background image is a pretty big file; as it loads, it creates a flashing effect that can be disorienting. One could argue that the height of the slideshow is optimized for larger screens; but scrolling through the slideshow content, some users can see that the content below has changed, yet have to scroll down to read all of it. This isn’t necessarily a big issue, but the slideshow panels could be a bit shorter.

Christopher Kaufman's Portfolio31
The wide horizontal navigation forces users with small screens to scroll.

Chapolito Link

Another Example of Tabbed Navigation Link

Chapolito32 is really a unique website. The footer animation catches the eye right away, and the abstract shapes in the top-level navigation are original, as is the way the logo is integrated in the navigation, which keeps the brand as a focal point. We do have a suggestion for the sub-navigation in the portfolio section, though. The circles-as-progress indicator probably works best for slideshows of about five pieces of content or fewer. With such an extensive showcase, the user might get lost and not be able to find a particular project again. If numbers were in the circles, that would help.

Chapolito's Portfolio33
Interesting top navigation.

Flywheel Design Link

Sliders and Graphic Tiles That Flip on Mouse-Over Link

Flywheel Design34 gives a good overview of its work right on the home page. The hover-over navigation is fun and gives users an incentive to mouse around and explore. The background is simple without being boring, making this a good example of minimal design. One problem for us was the slider navigation on project sub-pages: almost too minimal, because it took us a while to figure out it was there. Making it a little bigger or adding a splash of color might help.

Flywheel Design35
Flip-tile style navigation.

Wishbone Design Link

Flash-Based Animated Navigation Link

Wishbone Design36 is created for kids and parents, so it makes sense for it to be fun and full of Flash animations. The navigation is entertaining but a little hard to use. Having the sub-elements open on hover seems to be the root of the problem; changing it to a click might give users a greater sense of control. Hover navigation should be as speedy as possible. The main slideshow is eye-catching, but you really have to dig to figure out that this is actually a company manufacturing bicycles (among other things). An explanatory blurb or even some slides would help new visitors. Another problem: if you’re going to have audio, please give users a way to turn it off! Overall, the site is truly remarkable, with attention to details. Nice work, this is what Flash is supposed to be used for!

Wishbone Design37
Flash-based navigation.

Basmatitree Link

Flash-Based Animation That Could Be Navigation Link

We can’t lie: on first arriving on 60 mq missione casa, we were really hoping that the spoons were the navigation. We were sad to find out they aren’t. That said, this is a pretty fun layout for a food blog. The typography could benefit from some more variation, though. Also, the posts would be easier to scan if some texture or color variation were added to the columns.

Basmatitree Blog
Flash-animated spoons are fun!

Minus Five Link

An Entirely Horizontal Sliding Website Link

Horizontal navigation can be problematic. In this case, though, Minus Five 38is larger than life and colorful. The hover-over “Forth” and “Back” controls are large and easy to see, making it abundantly clear where you can click and what you are supposed to do, and avoiding one of the common drawbacks of unconventional navigation.

Minus Five39
Entirely horizontal navigation.

For a portfolio, one thing that could confuse users is that the featured websites are not linked to anything. Using images embedded in a Mac frame to convey that they are websites is a good idea, but they make it a little hard to see the details in the designs. Another questionable design choice is positioning the portfolio pieces to the right of the background image. This makes it feel as though the background is the focus, instead of the portfolio pieces themselves. Also, the page is difficult to browse if you don’t have a proper wide screen display, because you see only small chunks of the site at once.

Retinart Link

Completely Text-Based Navigation Link

Retinart40 is a lovely example of a typography-focused website. The nice, even gutters and margins are relaxing on the eyes. One thing that’s a little unexpected is that the “Feedback” tab on the left side doesn’t pop out from the side (as most users would expect), but rather opens a modal window.

The beautiful typography goes well with imaginative language.

Notice the careful attention to language. In conjunction with beautiful type, a designer can really take it to the next level by using beautiful language to emphasize the quailty of the site.

Collision Labs Link

Classic Tabbed Navigation Link

Collision Labs42 is energetic. We immediately wanted to take this design firm’s advice and fasten our seat belts! The large header block is exciting without being overpowering. The portfolio sub-pages are clear and do a good job of both telling and showing what the projects were about. The typography, though, is a little uniform. One thing that confused us was the Twitter icon in the footer navigation: the bird flips upside down on hover. We couldn’t really see the reason for this, so it felt vaguely unsettling. Overall, though, an effective website, and a good example of judicious and not excessive icon usage.

Collision Labs43
Bold color and traditional navigation.

Summary Link

In sum, navigation is as much about communicating instructions for finding content as it is about being fun and interesting. There are some points to take away. For instance, if something is clickable, make sure it looks clickable. If it’s not clickable, make sure to communicate that, too. Also, be fun without being confusing. And show, don’t tell. If you have to tell users what to do, then the navigation has failed. After all, the crucial attribute of any truly exceptional website is both aesthetics and the usability of its navigation.

Would you like to see more similar showcases on SM? Link

Let us know what you think in the comments to this post! And please like this article below if you find it useful and would love to see more similar posts on Smashing Magazine in the future. Thanks.

Footnotes Link

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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

  1. 1

    Federica Sibella

    September 7, 2010 5:31 am

    Nice collection, thanks for sharing.

  2. 6

    Comment Zombie

    September 7, 2010 5:32 am

    Good article. I can use this.

  3. 7

    Himanshu Khanna

    September 7, 2010 5:37 am

    Brilliant collection & description of your viewpoints for every inclusion. Look foward to more, cheers!

  4. 8

    Nelma Abdulahé

    September 7, 2010 5:43 am

    I would add, a poetic architecture studio website!

  5. 9

    Great Collection :)

  6. 10

    Holger Seifert

    September 7, 2010 6:12 am

    Gute Inspiration für kommende Projekte

  7. 11

    Great Inspiration! Thanks

  8. 14

    Thanks for this post. Always a fan of navigation designs.

  9. 15

    Rupnarayan Bhattacharya

    September 7, 2010 7:13 am

    In my opinion navigation is the key to success of a site. Easy , simple yet good looking navigation helps users to stay at the site. This article shows great collection of menus which are good looking, usable and having new ideas at the same time.

  10. 16

    Good stuff! Reminds me of 1 page showcase done by webdesignerdepot, one of them really caught my eye, a portfolio of a painter/artist –

  11. 17

    I wonder what the usability freaks have to say on this :)

  12. 18

    Rob from Collision here. Thanks Smashing for featuring us! It’s great to read all the positive feedback we’ve gotten this year, and the constructive criticism is just as awesome. We’ve had nothing but negative feedback on the Twitter link in the footer. My logic was that I was killing the bird, mainly because I’ve put cute twitter birds on a million websites, and I felt like it was his time to die. Anyway, the joke seems to be lost on everybody but me, haha, so we’ll definitely be making some changes there.

    Overall, it’s been a great ride with the new site, we’ve met tons of new students, companies, and peers since the launch earlier this year.

    Rock on.

  13. 19

    Nice to see a balance of creativity and purposeful design.

  14. 20

    Another interesting idea – this time for ‘categories’ navigation on an e-commerce site – is the thumbnail carousel used by North Rock Gallery here:

  15. 21

    missed the biggest fault with HAUS’s portfolio navigation: when you get to the end of the group, you cannot simply advane to the beginning again (it should loop), you physically have to click back, back, back x 10 or whatever – that’s a fail.

  16. 22

    Thanks for this post! I find this navigation really interesting too:

  17. 23

    ‘The company scores bonus points for linking to Bring Down IE6’ – really?! Smacks of pretentiousness – an important aspect of great design is accessibility, and a highly functional website where you cater to your users. You don’t tell some of them to take a hike – well, unless you’re a snob and don’t care.

  18. 24

    I would also add the website which uses connecting lines to scroll between the different “webpages”. There are also treats for the websurfer to scroll to which are kinda cool.

  19. 25

    Nice collection of examples.

  20. 26

    Thanks for listing my work
    Here i must thank my client (Mr.Lenin of Plinestudios) for giving me the 100% freedom to create this site. – Thanks ~ Suresh /

  21. 27

    just wanted to thank you for the featuring I appreciate.
    Your article is interesting, I have discovered some great websites.

  22. 28

    Elf M. Sternberg

    September 7, 2010 11:02 am

    One of the more interesting experiments in vertical navigation is going on, curiously enough, at Pull up any page, and a jquery plug-in builds a collection of graphic tabs on the right-hand side of the viewport, spaced proportionately with the distribution of anchors within the page. Hovering over any tab results in the tab growing a little to show a brief summary and maybe a graphic; clicking on any tab results in a dynamic scroll to that place in the document. Class definitions within each anchor hint the script with tab color and iconography.

  23. 29

    Regarding pline studios comment “One problem, though, is the project descriptions; so much focus is on the images and animations that there’s actually very little explanation about the projects themselves”

    – As a creator i agree with this point. The work section is admin based. The client can upload, update and delete the works himself. So its not in creator control. Let me take this feedback to my client. Thanks ~ Suresh /

  24. 30

    I am sure it’s brilliant! I am sure it is!

  25. 31

    Giovanni Di Gregorio

    September 7, 2010 4:52 pm

    Good post! I wanna suggest my personal website

  26. 32

    Great list! Although, I don’t think you looked very hard at Wishbone Design (one of my favourite sites for a while now)… there is a sound toggle at the bottom right of the screen.

  27. 33

    Thanks SmashingMag you have yet again loaded me up with inspiration for my designs

    Love your Work!

  28. 34

    Wow, some of the coolest designs I have ever seen.

  29. 35

    Thanks for this post! Brilliant

  30. 36

    I feel it is a bogus list. smashing magazine just want to give link for some reason.

  31. 37

    Thanks for sharing!!
    One of my personal favourites is

    Excellent use of CSS & lovely design in a horizontal navigation

  32. 39

    Great post. Thanks for sharing. :)

  33. 40

    There are some nice sites..

    but OMG! I was visiting the Minus Five website ( wich looks prety nice ), BUT i realy, i mean REAAALLY can’t stand it when a site is autoresizing my browser, so anoying :)

  34. 41


  35. 42

    oomg..this article is so interesting….thanks for sharing!

  36. 43

    I checked my referrals this morning and WOW, where’d all the hits come from?

    Thanks for including CD in this list! I appreciate the feedback and will definitely consider these suggestions. Keep up the good work!

  37. 44
  38. 45

    Very interesting collection of contemporary webdesign. “Minus Five” is a very good example of how NOT to do a website that can be viewed by anyone!

  39. 46

    This is awesome! Horizontal scrolling of the whole page as main navigation. Of course without Flash.

  40. 47

    Cool collection!
    We just did two single-page websites, both built with XHTML+CSS+jQuery using AJAX techniques:
    one with fixed navigation and query string manipulation (“pages” can be linked) – , and one with mousewheel and keyboard support – .

  41. 48

    I guess you should check out
    Really awesome work!

  42. 51

    RE the Calobee Doodles site:

    “A thumbnail gallery is a common way to display work, but in this case illustration thumbnails are a bit too small, and they are linked to images. A lightbox may work better in this context.”

    The thumbnails are 100px X 200px. What size do you suggest for thumbnails in order to be large enough, show multiple images on one page, and still be an incitement to click for a larger view? Also, why should they not be linked to images? She’s using a lightbox (a common one) already, so would you better define the “A lightbox may work better” suggestion?

    • 52

      Vitaly Friedman

      September 9, 2010 3:19 am

      You are right, Eli. When we tested the page, the lightbox hasn’t loaded properly I assume, so when we clicked on a thumbnail, an image was loaded separately, not in a lightbox. The site does have a lightbox now, so the article was updated.

      Regarding the thumbnails — a bit higher thumbnails would work better, in our opinion. Maybe 100×300px. It’s just an opinion, though.

      Thanks for your comment!

      • 53

        Thanks for clarifying that!

        After initially reading the article, I spent quite a few hours looking through other artists’ portfolio sites with that comment as a measure – and no one had it right, especially Etsy (a common sales sight for crafters and artists not on the big gallery and museum scene).

        I breathe a sigh of relief – even though I know it was an opinion….a well regarded opinion.

  43. 54

    Great post. Thanks for sharing. :)

  44. 55

    Wishbone Design does has a way to turn of the Audio. notice a funny character on the right bottom, he is holding a speaker. click him to shut him up.

  45. 56

    Great Post.

  46. 57

    This website also has a unique navigation system:

  47. 58

    A good collection, however a lot of these web sites have very basic navigations with just a simple roll over. However the wishbone design navigation is very well designed the animation makes you want to click through all of the links and is the most interesting area of the website.
    Also the Komrade navigation works well because it uses the whole website as 1 big navigation bar.

  48. 59

    Nice tips and great sites. The originality and simplicity of some sites is inspirational. Some of the layouts are different, which I like. All in all an great collection of sites that provide a wide spectrum of designing a site.

  49. 60

    Wow I really like the look’n’feel of the Fundation six homepage..

  50. 61

    I thought this was supposed to be a showcase and not a critique of sites?

  51. 62

    Pierre Von Schmytt

    September 9, 2010 9:51 am

    Some really nice sites here. Love to see something different out there. What about this one? It’s pretty querky in terms of navigating around the site.

  52. 63

    Matthew Wehrly

    September 9, 2010 1:10 pm

    +1 Relogik – minimal, professional, perfect.

  53. 64

    Photoshop “Navigator” style navbar –

  54. 65

    I like the most calobee doodles this one is unique from others
    Thanks for sharing

  55. 66

    I noticed that there are growing trend in horizontal navigations. The jQuery effect has definitely made it more useful and appealing.

    One thing to keep in mind though. It does get useless when users have to slide through more then 4-5 items using a *mouse…

    Great Post!

  56. 67

    Nice examples, I’d like to wonder what everyone thinks of my site

  57. 68

    These are mostly appealing designs, but would you give them passing grades for usability? It’d be fun to ask each of these designers who their target audience is and then try some old-fashioned task-oriented usability testing. Even in the case of a designer marketing services to media professionals, why not take pains to make it easy to understand what’s clickable and what’ll happen?

  58. 70

    Janes Oosthuizen

    September 11, 2010 2:35 am

    Nice post. Some inspiring examples.

  59. 71

    nice collection!

  60. 72

    Great collection. I’m a big fan of what JavaScript is making possible with navigation, moving past the traditional “click and scroll down,” without using flash. We combined slideshows within horizontal scrollers in our portfolio, here’s an example – and more nav methods throughout the rest of it.

  61. 73

    Nice article. Easy to read!

  62. 74

    Hi, I am new here but every thing explaining here It is very Excellent.I never see tht kind of thinks before…..

  63. 75

    Jeremiah selengia

    September 13, 2010 1:56 am

    Great post!! Navigation is so important in a web design, mixing it up a little makes the site stand out!

  64. 76

    I love these type of feature articles. Nothing spurs creativity like seeing what others have done. I would love to see a couple of specialty topics including, Section 508 compliant designs and SharePoint designs.

  65. 77

    About “Showcase of Interesting Navigation Designs.” Well done. Very nice. And, actually, useful. Thanks.

  66. 78

    Yum. Thanks for that: interesting – and inspiring.

    The Pline site (Minimalism in Vertical JavaScript-Based Navigation) seems very derivative of – which has been around since july 2008

  67. 79

    Here’s something from a company I worked before (3 years ago) It was fully experimental for me since this is the first time ive done a full flash website, i built the content around the interface design (which is on two alternating dynamic scrollers)

    Disregard some of the content if you may find it off, I’m no longer maintaining it :(.

    Have a look!


  68. 80

    Much respect to Flywheel. Great group of people in the heart of Durham, NC.

  69. 81

    Great article!! We have had this problem and it’s been a challenge to convince the boss that we need to pay more attention to layout and use of the site. I have just installed Piwik analytics to compare against Google.

    Always looking for feedback

    Watch this space

    Lead UI Expert at


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