December 1st , 2017

Designing Menus to Help Website and Mobile App Users

Graphics Design

On the websites or mobile applications, navigation is an essential element to explore the user interface further. On the websites, navigation provides clues of content architecture like content categories and significant features. In the mobile app, navigation scheme leads to different sections or parts of the app connect UIs to make a user journey. Whatever the software, a navigation scheme is mandatory. Technically, navigation scheme is a set of links or icons visually clustered in style to indicate its purpose distinctly. Software designers, particularly website designers are using the various navigation schemes, menus like horizontal (Main menu) or vertical (Side menus), hamburger menus (Three line icon), breadcrumbs, and textual links with anchor texts. Today we are discussing designing menus to help the web and mobile users for achieving the best user experiences, quick finding, and high conversion rate. In due course, we are giving usability and UX guidelines for the web and mobile software developers to make user journey smooth and fast.  

#1: Visibility Aspect while Designing Menus

Today all websites are mobile-friendly or user responsive design, in other words, to offer seamless user experiences across the various devices including desktops, laptops, smartphones, and tablets. For the desktop users, website layout is visible on a big screen with all UI elements used in a web page design. For mobile users, different screen sizes are offering challenges for the web or mobile app designers to offer excellent UX by respecting screen or resolution constraints. Thus, making your website navigation scheme or navigation menus visible for the users of all possible range of devices is challenging but not hard to achieve excellence in it. Let us give you some fine tips to make the navigation menus visible.
  • For large screens, menus should be distinctly visible, and should not remain hidden among the clusters of various design elements for a UI because we have a plenty of space for it
  • Design for conventions is a good rule here. Therefore, you should place menus in familiar locations/places of the different UIs
  • Make menu links clickable or tappable to display its interactivity
  • If your menu design is out of conventional locations, you must give enough visual weight while designing website menus or designing mobile menus to make it visible and distinct, so it never lost in the see of other graphics
  • Use colors, contrasts, texts styles, and design styles to make it visible and outstanding on the current user interface

#2: Breadcrumb a Good Practice for Navigation Menu Design

Fundamentally, breadcrumb navigation scheme is indicating the location of the current UI in the entire navigation scheme and leave scope to reach the top navigation pages/UIs or homepage. Displaying the current location through breadcrumb menu or another website menu design scheme helps the web or mobile users to save from frustrations, as well as the sense of losing in deep pages/UIs. Thus, use of breadcrumb improves UX, usability, and overall performance to hit the intended goals of website or mobile app.  

#3: Design Menus with User Tasks in Mind

  • Menu text is not for to be much fancy. Therefore, always use simple and comprehensive link labels by sticking with terminologies used in the niche industry
  • Menu texts must be readable and easy to scan
  • For voluminous websites, use mega menus or traditional drop-down menus to enable users to preview lower level content or skip a level or two
  • Use local navigation menu scheme for frequently forth and back navigations such as comparing the related products
  • Leverage visual language by designing menus using contextually relevant images, graphics, icons, colors, fonts, and design styles, which should be user task oriented by nature

#4: Designing Menus Easy to Manipulate

  • For the best user experiences, design menus with links easily clickable or big enough to tappable on mobile devices
  • Short span for hover activated drop-down menu or expandable menu results into user frustrations so measure the time to reach the farthest link and set appearance span accordingly and save menu from quick disappearance
  • Too long vertical menus make last link access daunting so keep length medium and reachable for last links
  • Excessively wide mega menu or drop down menu misunderstood as an individual UI or page and requires scrolling that is against the strategies for the best user experiences
  • Make main navigation menu design “Sticky” type for the long and scrolling pages, so access to menu links becomes quick and easy at any moment
  • Optimize menu design for frequently used links/commands and mega menu design or pie menu design are most suitable, as those menus are offering the least reach time span with the excellent UX

#5: Designing Menus for Mobile Users

Recent trends for mobile menus designs are favoring hamburger menu style with three line icon to hide the menu links in order to save the UI screen space for mobile devices. The majority of users are familiar with hamburger type of menu design, but it has a big pitfall in the form of higher interaction cost to access the same information. Therefore, modern expert mobile menu designers are taking some other innovative approaches to managing best UX along with usability. In due course, they take following approaches.
  • For homepage, use hamburger menu at the top but also provide links to main content areas of the site or app to support common tasks of the users without accessing main navigation
  • For interior pages or sections, use in-line links with anchor texts or buttons/icons
  • Images, videos, and animations are good sources to link with relevant content of the site/app from other areas so make multimedia content linkable
  • Navigation menu links in footer also help to provide quick access to the pages which users have found useful during the journey from top to bottom of the page and avoid repeat link access in hamburger menu
  • Many mobile menu designers are using off-canvas mobile menu designs to save precious screen real estate without missing navigation opportunities


We have seen that how various tactics of designing menus to help the web and mobile users in navigation. For website users on different devices, designing menus requires different approaches altogether and involves responsive web design practices with the inclusion of the latest trends. For the mobile app navigation menu designs, respecting native mobile OS marketplace guidelines is mandatory. In short, you need highly experienced the web and mobile software designers or menu designers, in particular, to design navigations menus or schemes for providing excellent user experiences and best usability. If you have explored the work portfolio of Addon Solutions, you might have realized that the teams of web and mobile designers are an excellent choice for any scale or any level of designing menu challenges available at competitive rates.