There are different design patterns depending on what kind of content we are talking about. Looking at the article Placing Sidebars: Do You Lean to the Right or the Left? one can read the following:
To most people, where the sidebar navigation is on a website seem like
something pretty insignificant. Chances are if you’re an average
website user, it’s not something you give much thought to. But in the
web design world, it’s something of greater interest, and it brings up
some larger ideas about how people look at and use websites that are
Whether to place the sidebar on the right or the
left is an ongoing debate, so there are no right answers to this (no
pun intended). At the end of the day, web designers have to take into
account many things when determining where to put the sidebar –
including how it fits in with the overall look and feel of a website.
Placing the sidebar on one side versus the other might just feel like
the better choice, so it should go where it feels more comfortable
Here are some basic ideas:
Put your sidebar on the left when…
- you want to emphasize content, not navigation. Users focus on the center of the web page – where the content is supposed to be. And they do this in an F-Shaped Pattern for Reading Web Content.
- you want to follow the most used navigation pattern: a global horizontal top-navigation and a subordinate left-navigation depending on the global navigation. This pattern is called the L-shaped navigation.
- you read from left to right. Seems obvious, but in western countries we read from left to right. If your target audience is in right to left speaking countries, the opposite apply.
Put your sidebar on the right when…
- The content is a blog. Sidebar go on the right on blogs.
- you read from left to right, and if you want users to see content first – then place it left and navigation right.
Always consider consistency
But the most important thing to remember is to be consistent. Whichever navigation pattern you chose, consistency is key:
There is nothing more likely to frustrate your users than the
navigation constantly changing as the move around the website. Doing
this forcing your visitors to navigate a complex maze of menus to get
to where they want to be.
It is very important, therefore, that the primary navigation of your
website stays the same throughout. Each section may have its own
navigation menu, which will of course change, but with the primary
navigation in-tact, the user can always return to where they were.