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For a responsive website where - at a set break-point - the primary navigation contracts to as single menu item that opens and closes the navigation menu (See the site for an example) is it preferable to:

  • a) Show the primary navigation option fully-expanded when first hitting the homepage. (Closed by default on all other pages)
  • b) Show the menu contracted until the user selects it?

See this dummy-website example below.


download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

My preference is B - As a rule Content is more important than Navigation, so provided the nav option itself is clear then there's no need to display the expanded menu unless the user selects it, however our client is arguing the case for A because they want to drive people into the site and feel displaying the menu would achieve this. Is it wrong to initially show the menu expanded on the homepage.

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I think it's more of a personal aesthetic preference + user testing. – dnbrv Apr 4 '12 at 15:59
up vote 3 down vote accepted

I think an in-between approach is also a good option. (my preferred)

In other words, still show a few core navigation links, but also give user option to see the full list.


download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

Bloomberg's web site viewed from smartphone kind of does this, but since they have extremely complicated menu, clicking on the "menu" actually takes you to a new page, which I'm not too crazy about.

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Jung - i've added a link to the bloomberg mobile site to your answer (I assume this is what you were referring to?) Yes, the option to still display some items in the menu is an interesting idea that was also discussed, but that would be the case on all pages not just the homepage. – JonW Apr 4 '12 at 13:49

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