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I must change the following menu in some web site.

This menu contain almost 30 items!

Screenshot: enter image description here

Any idea?

Categories: Home, Games, Leisure Children, Openly Software, Recipes, Study Lessons, Courses, Articles, Sayings, Economy, Recreation, Consumption, Useful, Web Development, Businesses, Service Board, Jobs, Work Board, Rental Board, Apartments Board, Sales, Second hand, Health, Maps.

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What areas of the site get the most traffic (may not be necessary to put all the links in the main navigation)? Check Amazon's vertical drop menu. Can you drill down from a less complex set of choices to avoid analysis paralysis and show more options on those landing pages - a la Apple.com? _this question will probably insight debate and discourse instead of the rigid Q&A - maybe rephrase to something like - is there a stand methodology to determine... –  Josh Bruce Mar 20 '13 at 15:09
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5 Answers

Firstly, that is one of the nastiest menus that I have ever seen. I know it's not your work, but this is a fantastic example of what happens when UX is not considered.

That said, I can think of no interface that will make a menu with those options usable. You have to deal with the underlying issue, that the category groupings need to change to be able to handle this well.

Many items that would logically fall under many of the categories there, which is the problem. Category groupings should be orthogonal. Which is a technical way of saying that the category groupings should be chosen so that all items clearly fall into one category.

For example, if the groupings were: Kitchen, Bedroom, Bathroom, and Office, you would have little confusion about what category to look in for a plate, or a pillow.

So from here, you need to take a step back and try to work out what items there are, and how to group them. From there, you should find that you will have fewer categories and that the menu problem has mostly been sorted out already.

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Thanks, nice answer! –  user80042 Mar 21 '13 at 8:45
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First of all try grouping the categories. For example study, lessons and courses could be grouped under education with the categories as sub elements

You could also use a card sorting task to find logical groups: Card sorting

Second: Determine a logical order, for example an alphabetical order (or use your insights from the card sorting task).

Third: many of the categories have names, that for me at least (i'm not a native english speaker), are kind of vague. Try finding beter names, these will also help you determine better groups.

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Thanks, nice example of education category. –  user80042 Mar 21 '13 at 8:45
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Re-categorizing into the smallest number of meaningful categories, as the other answers have suggested, makes a lot of sense. You'll get great results quickly using an Open Card Sort technique with target users. I use a tool called Optimal Sort and it works well.

A key consideration when streamlining a menu, however, is that it creates a demand for new/better category landing pages, or puts increased strain on existing ones.

If you find, for example, in your card sort that a logical new category is one called "Careers", then you'll need to add the creation of this page (or modifying an existing one) to budget for you project.

A company like Apple can get away with having a main menu with only seven links, because the category landing pages behind each link are rock solid.

If you revise your menu without paying attention to pages behind the remaining links, you risk offsetting the benefit of the revision.

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This menu must shrink!

  1. Group items and rename menu items, review your analytics to see where users are going. Any menu item that's not performing as expected (receiving enough clicks/taps to be a primary menu item must become a sub-menu item). Rename the remaining categories accordingly.

  2. Assuming you now have a reasonable amount of menu items, horizontal or vertical lists are now valid UI elements options.

Also what about reviewing the feasibility of a "portal" type page which will redirect users to a more precise page, with specific menu items?

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I see some answers proposing to put things into categories. I'm not going to strongly argue against that but am going to point out there can be problems with that if users' categorical concepts don't match what you've come up with. And there might not be a optimal categorization, half the users might expect one taxonomy and the other half another one, so half will have hard time finding things.

One strategy is to simply make the best of many options. Putting them in a column, alphabetized, might be the best way. And there's often a tendency to keep the menu small to leave space for the main content. It might be better to give more real estate resources to the menu to make it as easy to read/scan as possible.

You could drawer type drop-down to save real estate if that's important.

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