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I am creating a UI for a client, they are looking for a UI that includes a dashboard and several other pages for their clients to monitor their own accounts/sales. I've been playing around with a fixed navigation at the bottom of a fixed length page page and I was wondering what the drawbacks/strengths for using a bottom navigation are. I am having trouble finding any research on it besides bottom navigation usage for Mobile devices.

I understand that best practice for most websites is usually top/ side navigation, but this is an area for registered clients. Does anyone have any insight on Fixed bottom navigation for browser based UI's?

Is it a bad practice? Does it have any potential?

Here is an example screenshot of a fixed bottom main navigation bar: http://i.imgur.com/WmLNLrT.jpg

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3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

When it improves navigation without negatively affecting the experience.

It's really as simple as that. There are not really detailed descriptions of when it works, and when it doesn't. As with all other tools we have in our bag, it's one that has to be used where it doesn't get between the user and the content, or better yet; where it helps the user access said content.

For example

  • It could be useful on a particularly long page, where the navigation links to certain anchor points on the very same page.
  • It could be useful if the user is expected to use it more than x times per minute, and you wouldn't want them to have to scroll all the way back up every single time.
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One aspect to regard is how people read on the web. Here is an old survey that almost certainly rings true today. Even though that might be worth taking into account, the idea of floating the main navigation at the bottom of the page is something many are very accustomed to today as the tab bar is the standard navigation pattern on iOS. I'd say do some user testing.

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People are used to top/side navigation in majority of web and non-web systems. Personally I would stick to that.

Why to avoid buttom navigation:

  • User are less used to buttom navigation - system will require additional time just for user to get used to new navigation.
  • If there were main and sub-navigations + buttom dashboard, it will occupy a lot of space and may irritate people with small laptop screen or make scanning and reading more complicated.

Again, if you have a way to make mockup and give some poeple to try on big and small screens, it will be much helpful for you to find a solution.

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