Wandering Thoughts archives

2006-01-25

Site navigation stuff goes on the right side

The correct place to put your site navigation is on the right side of your pages, not the left. (This assumes you have enough geegaws that they don't fit in a header or a footer, but then most people do.)

There's two pragmatic reasons why.

The most important is what happens if the page is too wide for the user's browser, namely the browser displays the left however much it can fit in. In this situation, which is more important for the user to see as much of as possible: your navigation or your content? Forcing people to scroll sideways to read what they came to your site for strikes me as a good way to irritate them; it certainly irritates me when I run into sites like this.

(Don't assume that everyone uses wide browser windows. I suspect that larger displays are actually going to lead to smaller browser windows, since full screen and nearly full screen windows become absurdly big on big displays.)

The other reason is that in the portion of the world that reads left to right, we're conditioned to look at the top left, or at least the left, to start reading pages. If the site navigation is on the left, the reader has to skip over it; if the site navigation is on the right, they can immediately hone in on the actual content.

(Three column layouts are an entirely separate issue that I'm not going to go into now except to say that I almost never like them.)

web/NavigationOnTheRight written at 00:54:33; Add Comment


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