Top menu vs Side Menu on Web Applications

Top menu vs Side menu which one Really Better than other, it is ongoing debate among UX designers. The debate almost always breaks down to a single question, Top menu or Side menu?
Because always when we start designing an web applications following things came in mind that’s are.
Should I use a side menu or a top menu? Why? What’s the main difference for the user experience?

Top Menu

When considering top navigation, one thing we need to keep in mind that there may be lot of links need to fit horizontally. This can be an issue of content organization.

Pros
– Top menu items are more visible because they are always above the fold and are easier to find
– Top navigation’s are also easier to find because they are usually accompanied by the header and logo, both of which are visually dominant objects

Cons
Difficult to scale when adding many navigational links-
If you design a menu with 4 items it might not always be the easiest to add a 5th item. This issue (almost) doesn’t exist in vertical (side) menus.

Use of sub menus may interfere with page’s content below it
Using mega menu as sub menu (fly-out/dropdown menus) of menu bar links get overlaps on main page content, which can be a usability hassle if not well-crafted.

The left most item carry more visual weight than the other items because of its placement in the primary optical area (top left)

Side Menu

One of the most compelling reasons to use side navigation can best be explained in the example of an e-commerce site which contains many categories and sub-categories.
The amount of links may get to a point where visually and usability wise, a top navigation structure would just not work.

Pros
A left sidebar navigation is faster and more efficient for users to scan.
Allows for easier scaling with numerous links traveling down the page
Use of standard, tree and group listings along with fly-outs to more efficiently.

Cons
Left Navigation items are not always above the fold, because sometimes if you have too many items, some of them can get pushed below the fold

Conclusion
Vertical sidebar navigation is more user friendly and beneficial
when working on shopping cart sites or on admin panels/web applications where number of navigation links are more. Also, with vertical menu bar, adding a new link is quite simple.

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Anil Giri is the guy who can develop UI/UX with html, css and javascript and also able to create attractive and catchy UI for print media as well as for web with latest pattern and for all the major browsers and devices. I also loves blogging on web design, development and blogging.

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