Creating a Responsive Design Menu

A responsive design menu is one of the most important elements you need to include to enhance user experience on a website. A good website makes it easy for users to navigate from one feature to another. Businesses have to realize that more people are accessing their sites through their mobile devices and this makes it necessary to come up with menus that can be used with ease. There are various design options that you can take advantage of when you want to develop a responsive menu.

Creating a Responsive Design Menu

Resize and Position Menus

This is one of the simplest techniques you can use to come up with a responsive design menu. It is a modest approach. In this case, the objective is to come up with a menu that is always visible. You can include small navigation links and make sure they fit on the page. With this kind of design the navigation links appear on the right side when a user opens their browser window. When the window is compressed, the links appear under the logo and this makes them function like one navigation bar.

Hidden Sliding Menus

This responsive design menu includes a toggle switch that users have to open to access the navigation links. You have to place this switch close to the upper part of the page to make it easy to users to locate it. One drawback of using this design is that if you use CSS3 to create it, the menu will not be supported by every browser. It is advisable to use jQuery to come up with the menu. This is because it offers better stability and it comes with various open source plugins that you can select from.

With this design every navigation item will appear normally when a page it fully open. When the page is resized to a certain level, it reveals a small icon that you can click, revealing the navigation links. One of the best features on this design is the fact that the menu closes automatically when you click any part on the page. Users who are familiar with a standard iOS application will find this design very easy to use.

Overlay Dropdown Design

If you are looking for a responsive design menu technique that will not take up the space you need for content, overlay dropdowns work well. These are hidden menus that are particularly important for mobile users. You do not want menus to take up most of the space on the screen when a user opens your page. Dropdown menus are ideal because the links are kept away from the page until an online user requires them. All a user has to do is tap or drift over an icon on the page to reveal a menu.

Dropdowns are effective if you do not have several links. Users can easily close the menu by moving away from the icon without having to go through the page. This makes it easy for them to find the precise information they are looking for. On the other hand, if you have several links, a user will have to scroll through the list when the drop down menu appears and this makes your site less impressive.

Block Drop down

Another responsive design menu option that you can use is block-level components. In this case, the navigation links will not appear over your content. This technique involves using hidden items that will push down the page when they appear. It is a good responsive design menu if you are looking for clean navigation. This technique eliminates clutter on the content page. One of the main advantages of this design is that there is no limit on the number of navigation links that you can use. It can accommodate several links depending on the style you select. Choose a style that blends well with your layout.

Multi-Level Navigation

If you menu contains sub-links, a multi-level navigation is suitable. This is responsive design menu allows online users to explore the various categories by scrolling up and down the various levels until they come across the information they are looking for.

Use Select Menus

This is not a popular technique but you can still use it to enhance user experience on your site. Select menus are ideal because of their versatility. They will work well in each browser. One of the drawbacks of using this responsive design menu is that you will find it difficult to style them in the same fashion. This means that it may be challenging to customize them to suit various web browsers.

In spite of this drawback, select menus are familiar and this means that users will not have to spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to use your site. People who have used the internet for a while will know how to navigate the links you provide. Another significant drawback is that the menu may look out of place on your site. Select menus are not aesthetically appealing but they are effective. This responsive design menu option is a good choice if you are looking for a fast navigation that can be used with each operating system.

Responsive designs were once considered a trend but this has changed over the years and they are now a necessity for every website owner who wants to get repeat online visitors. If a website is not responsive, online users will not spend time on it. They will look for an alternative that makes it easy for them to find information. One of the most important factors to consider when designing a responsive website is the menus you use. You need to think about your users and what they want to achieve when you create menus.

One of the main challenges for designers at the moment is creating aesthetically appealing menu designs that work well on both large and small screens. These design options allow you to experiment with various menus before you settle for one. Try different menus on your site and find one that matches with your layout. A responsive design menu should be easy to use on any device.

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Megan Wilson
Megan Wilson is user experience specialist & editor of UX Motel. She is also the Quality Assurance and UX Specialist at WalkMe Megan.w(at)walkme.com
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