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?
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.
– 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
– 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)
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.
– 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.
– 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
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.