“Digital design is like painting, except the paint never dries.” Neville Brody
Web design trends are on the constant move, and lately, left-hand sided navigation is more and more popular. Personally, I love the element of surprise and I find this trend to be very interesting layout-wise. But is it effective? Does it work in all responsive environments? Does this non-traditional menu become overlooked?
From a composition standpoint, side navigation can make sense.
•The eye reads naturally from left to right
•Allows for a flexible long list style
•Allows for more content and links in a scrolling manner
•Designers and developers have more of an open canvas
•Excellent additional space for videos
From a usability standpoint, perhaps this navigation style can lead to hiccups and user annoyance.
•Side navigation can be challenging to program
•Most users are right-handed, and therefore the constant click and scroll to the left for items can become slightly irritating
•Ultimately to make the space effective, the column width needs to be relatively narrow, and therefore text width needs to be constantly considered
•Possibly a challenge for content management
•From a smart phone viewport, this navigation can become lost, and can only be viewed as a hamburger icon option
•Parallax scroll style sites can become clunky with this navigation feature
•May be difficult to maintain consistency across a site design (landing pages, etc.), could become visually awkward and may be best for smaller sites
So here we go again, another design style put to the test with form versus function. In an ever-changing design medium, it is challenging to implement that non-traditional design surprise, and to think inside and outside the screen.
(Inspired by various sources, including; awwwards.com, creativebloq.com, designshack.net and smashingmagazine.com)