Hot Trends in Website Menus


Gal · 09th December 2020·Wordpress, UX&UI

Hot Trends in Website Menus

For most users, website navigation menus are something that often goes unnoticed until they don't work or are of inferior quality. You can have the crispest visuals, the most engaging landing page, and the most compelling CTA in the world, but this won't make much of a difference if your website navigation menu is not up to scratch.

A website navigation menu is a core component of how users engage with your website. It is how users get a sense of what you have to offer and it is arguably the most important aspect of any website's user experience (UX).

Equally important is the impact that a navigation menu can have on your SEO rankings and overall visibility. If you're looking to start your own website, then staying on top of the latest navigation menu trends and best practices is key. Here is what you need to know.

Website Navigation Menu Best Practices

If we were to look at what websites used to look like, we'd see that they were once very clunky things and the average shared hosting package in 1998 provided a mere 153MB of storage for webmasters, meaning that most websites offered very little beyond a landing page.

However, all of that has changed immeasurably since then. A typical website today runs between 10-50 pages apiece, while the popularity of video content and quality media means that millions of popular websites are now hosting dozens or even hundreds of gigabytes of storage space. The creation of WordPress offers variety for website creators too.

With this in mind, it is important to know how to design a website navigation menu that makes all of this content easy and enjoyable for users to traverse. First of all, a website navigation menu should be easy to find and ideally accessible and visible from every area of your site.

It should be easy to operate, meaning that each section of the navigation menu should be easy to click and suitable for mobile devices. Your navigation menu should also be consistent, meaning that it should look identical across your website and the user experience should be the same across all pages.

It should also be aesthetically appealing, accessible for those who might have difficulty reading smaller print, and have total cross-platform functionality. With these principles in mind, let's look at some of the design trends that are shaping website navigation menus in 2020.

Website Navigation Menu Trends

When beginning the process of web hosting for WordPress, you will notice that the different WordPress themes have a staggering number of navigation menu options. Not all of these are created equal, but many of them incorporate some of the very best design trends in the world of UX. Here are some of the website navigation menu trends that you should be on the lookout for when building your website:

Universal Navigation

This is a commonly used navigation menu that remains a favorite among proponents of good UX and is seen in many WordPress themes. It is ideally suited to the websites of large companies with many different types of offerings and overseas divisions. In a nutshell, it is a navigation menu that is static on the top of every webpage and contains top-level links to every part of the website. All of the main links that are visible on the site are high-level. For example, the navigation menu might have four options; 'food', 'hospitality', 'travel', and 'media'. Once you click on one of these, you will be directed to a more specific part of the website that might feature a more detailed navigation menu.

Vertical Sliding Navigation

This describes an expandable navigation menu that appears when a drop-down icon is clicked. Once the icon is clicked, users can scroll down a stripped-back navigation menu that will direct them to key parts of the website. Given that this type of navigation is conducive for vertical scrolling, it is more popular for websites where users are most likely to be visiting from their mobile devices.

'Four Corners' Navigation

This is more of an experimental website navigation menu trend that is popular with creatively-oriented companies such as design agencies. It invokes UX principles that attempt to direct the user's eyes in specific directions. The navigation menu is essentially four links, with one link in each corner of the screen. The top-right corner could be 'contact information', the bottom-left corner could be 'reviews', and so on.

Pop-Up Mega Menus

You've probably seen these before. Pop-up mega menus are a form of navigation menu in which all navigation links are hidden from the homepage. However, if the user clicks a menu icon, then the whole page will be filled with a semi-transparent pop-up that shows a detailed list of every component of the website. This is a good choice is you want to lay it all out there without crowding your landing page.

Hidden Subnavigation Menus

These types of menus are a popular workaround for websites that are attempting to be mobile-friendly without limiting the mobile navigation menu options. Essentially, the user clicks on a drop-down or pop-up navigation menu and will find a small number of options. However, these are high-level options, often with a '+' icon next to them. Clicking the '+' icon will reveal a further submenu for each category.

Carousel Navigation Menus

You might have seen these on popular news websites, as they are often used to highlight top stories or trending topics. They take the form of a horizontal 'carousel' banner across the top of the landing page. This carousel can then be scrolled through horizontally via an arrow button, or it will auto-scroll. This is helpful if you wish to highlight different parts of your website on a rolling basis.

Contents Table Navigation

To visualize what this type of navigation menu looks like, simply go to a Wikipedia page. You will see that all of the contents on that page have been summarized in a table at the top. Although it is a single page, you can click on a link in the contents page and be instantly dropped down to the relevant part of that webpage. This is an ideal navigation menu if you are hosting a website that only consists of a single, detailed landing page.

'Dot-Click' Navigation

Another more minimalist navigation menu trend that has become increasingly popular in recent years. This is when your landing page has several aligned dots on the side of the screen. Clicking on each dot will take you to different bits of the content without taking you away from the landing page. The dots are never labeled, which is why this type of navigation menu is used by people who want their navigation to tell a story, rather than direct people to different parts of a website.

By following these website navigation menu trends, you will be able to build and host a website that is user-friendly and easy to navigate.