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I'm working on a news aggregation system inspired by reddit.com

Site can have multiple categories created by users. I would like to display as many categories on front page as I can, without sacrificing style, usability and design.

two obvious choices are:

Vertical list on left side - Advantage: I can list lots of categories, as vertical placement give me unlimited amount of space - Disadvantage: Based on text size of category, the looks and spacing between categories and content are compromised

In case of vertical menu, questions pop up in my mind: should "more" link simply take you to a category page? Should I make mouse over on more scroll more categories in via javascript? maybe mouseover on more should expand the menu downwards revealing more categories?

Horizontal list on top of site - Advantage: Does not compromise design - Disadvanage: Limited space depending on User's screen resolution

There might be other ways of achieving this, say by partially hidden vertical or horizontal menu, but not sure if basing a site layout on javascript is a good idea.

I'd really appreciate your input on this. What would you recommend I do?

Horizontal Menu of categories

Vertical Menu of categories

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why do you want to display categories on the home page? –  Fresheyeball Jun 10 '12 at 21:08
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up vote 1 down vote accepted

From what I have found the horizontal navigation is put to better use on a website with a lot of content being displayed (your site). It gives the site navigation a strong presence because it spans across the whole width of the site. I also prefer the horizontal navigation because it takes up a whole lot less real estate than a vertical navigation.

This is not to say that a vertical navigation would not work. I would suggest doing and A/B test and see what has the best response.

Also I would move the horizontal navigation under the logo so it feels more like that navigation is for that site.

Also see Smashing Magazine on this subject.

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Thank you very much for your input. Thanks for the link too. –  DavidW Jun 11 '12 at 22:07
    
You're welcome. –  Yallow Jun 12 '12 at 13:01
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An option may be to use a directory structure e.g. http://dir.yahoo.com/ With a cookie and some creative JS you could allow those with an account to pin their favored to the top rather than the super headings. This would allow the new visitor a chance to explore to find interesting topics. Perhaps have a group of the most active in a vertical list below or highlight new groups... Engage the site visitor rather than serving a wall of text/options.

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I'm afraid that approach would not work in my case. –  DavidW Jun 11 '12 at 22:05
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