The Latest Craze

I’d like to share a thought or two about what could well become a trend in web design–positioning the navigation at the bottom of the page. Here are some arguments why I think it may not be such a good idea.

Sites like Powazek.com and KeeganJones.com have introduced the method of putting the navigation at the bottom of the page. Yup, at the very bottom. So, what’s all that about?

We all want our readers to really read the content on our web sites, don’t we? We want them to really read what we have to say, don’t we? Of course we do. But here’s a newsflash for ya–they often don’t. Most of your visitors simply scan throught the page, sometimes stopping on sections that seem interesting. They look for words, sentences, headings… Rarely do they read every word and explore every corner of the web page.

Sure, you’re reading this now, and may well reach the very end of the page, but how many articles have you really read in the last couple of days? If your answer is something like “every single one”, then ask yourself about the majority of web page visitors. Studies have shown the majority don’t bother reading.

While the authors of the two sites I mentioned try to make the visitor to explore the whole content, they may do themselves some damage. Your visitor wants to be able to instantly spot the navigation. If he or she isn’t able to do that and is forced to search for the menu, time is being lost. If they have to scroll to the bottom of every single page to find links, they will get frustrated.

A faithful reader will read and explore everything, no matter where the navigation is, you say? Indeed he will. But what about your first-time visitor? What about a reader unsure whether or not he wants to stick around some more? What about readers who simply want to get to your “Links” section to find new stuff? You want to do your best to make them more interested in your work and to access the information quickly and easily. Everyone wants to find what they’re looking for quickly and easily.

If someone really wants to read what you have to say, they will do that. You don’t have to force them. Plus, isn’t your menu one of the most important elements of your web page? If you weigh the pros and cons, I can’t see how you can possibly find more pros. Thus, positioning the navigation on the bottom of the page in my mind is not a good idea.

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