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Ive seen a lot of very successful sites of big companies like mailchimp and others with minimalistic top navigations consisting of 3-5 buttons, but big footers where detailed navigation is located.

My assumption is, if someone is looking for certified partners or support he will find the links in the footer, top navigation is reserved for potential new clients.

The website im about to design has a lot of content and big sections like

  • support
  • partners
  • services
  • industries
  • about us
  • news

and even more. Currently it has 4 level drop down navigation.

Question is, which of those is safe to move to the footer and remove from the top navigation?

In a perfect world I would only have links at the top i need to market the product, maybe 3-4 links. But is it safe to assume, that if a user is interested in partners he will look for the link in the footer? For me the footer has allways been my second choise of navigation, but for other users?

tldr

Is it safe to put big chunks of the navigation in the footer, do people look in the footer if they dont find what they are looking for in the top navigation?

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1 Answer 1

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Taking Mailchimp as an example - although it is a big and successful company, its main goal is selling its service and as such the top navigation is focused on this.

about us, news, careers, etc. are not as important so they are placed in the footer.

This works for the type of company Mailchimp is but mightn't necessarily be suitable for a larger company like Cisco or Bank of America which have alot more content and have a wider range of services and products.

It depends what type of company you are designing for.

Edit: I think that sometimes support is actually a big selling point and is justified as being at the top.

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the companys content could be compared to ibm.com with industry solutions and what not. difference is ibm probably doesnt rely on its homepage to sell or get leads –  user1721135 Jan 30 '13 at 14:59
    
Yes IBM is more B2B isn't it. I gave Cisco as an example which would be in similar territory. To flip things up look at the new Microsoft site - huge company, diverse products and services but small top navigation. –  Oisin Lavery Jan 30 '13 at 15:11
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what im noticing is tight top navigation, but huge onmouseover dropdown/drawer navigation. actually that might be the way to go. client is b2b as well. hard to sepperate cluster from crucial info... –  user1721135 Jan 30 '13 at 15:35
    
Well spotted, big companies really like Mega Menus! In a way they're like having those footer links at the top. –  Oisin Lavery Jan 30 '13 at 15:50
    
And Mega Menu's are hugely annoying if their showing not delayed for some time when simply moving your mouse across them to get to some content (which then of course is covered by the b.... mega menu if you happened to be moving down) –  Marjan Venema Jan 31 '13 at 7:23
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