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I am currently working on a project to redesign a large organisation's intranet site. At present the project team is debating whether the site's static menu should appear below or above the banner. Just to be clear, by 'static menu' I mean this menu will appear on every page throughout the entire intranet site. It is also a hover menu in that a sub-menu appears when hovering over some of the options. The banner, however, will most likely change depending on the content being viewed.

Below are some mockups for illustrative purposes.

Option 1: Static menu appears below banner

Menu below banner

Option 2: Static menu appears above banner

Menu above banner

Note: Above images are mockups only.

At this point, the general consensus (in a team of five) is that Option 1 (the design with the banner above the static menu) looks better, while the other option doesn't seem to look quite right.

However, there is disagreement on whether the first option is the overall better approach from a UX perspective. The thinking goes like this:

The site is being designed for an organisation of 1,500 staff. The organisation is broken up into branches and these are also divided into many teams. As a result, there will be branch pages, team pages, and many other pages (e.g. L&D pages, News pages, etc) that will have their own banner and menu structure.

Opting for Option 1 creates the following issues:

  • Level 2 and below pages will be restricted to only having the option of using side navigation bars for their own menu structures (as using a top navigation bar will look strange if it's immediately below the main static menu)
  • Changing the banner to suit the individual page may be counter-intuitive as staff would also expect the menu below it to change (which it won't because it's a static menu across the entire site)
  • On the other hand, if a decision was made to keep the main banner static as well, then this reduces screen real estate for lower level pages and/or increases the amount of vertical scrolling that may be required
  • As branch and team pages will be maintained by their own staff who have the necessary permissions to edit those pages, it's felt that this design would make their job (and therefore their user experience) not as pleasant as it restricts how they can layout their own content

Opting for Option 2 creates the following issues:

  • the fact that some feel it just doesn't look as good (and for some it looks strange)
  • as the static menu contains a hover 'sub-menu' for some options, it's felt that these sub-menus appearing over the banner when being utilised will look odd

In summary, Option 1 is seen as looking better and more natural, while Option 2 seems to be more functional and the one that provides more flexibility. The disagreement is over which option is better overall from a UX point of view, not just for end users, but also for those with the responsibility of editing content.

Questions:

  1. Which option provides the best user experience overall, and why?

  2. Are there any other approaches that may better suit this environment?

  • 1
    Removing the banner might provide the best user experience actually... – Michael Lai Jun 12 '17 at 1:40
  • Option 1 is probably the most common, though option 2 is probably the most logical (especially if "branch/team" pages might want their own menus). Like @MichaelLai my first instinct would be to consider removing the banner, but if you will have "local menus", keeping it might make sense. – TripeHound Jun 12 '17 at 14:58
  • Interesting @MichaelLai I hadn't actually considered this, but I do like challenging the status quo and will give it some thought. :) – Monomeeth Jun 12 '17 at 22:13
  • Thanks @TripeHound that's the real issue, the fact that many sections will have their own local menu. However, this entire thing is being built on SharePoint (not my choice) so removing the banner may in fact be okay because we might be able to do something else at top altogether. I'll give it some thought today. – Monomeeth Jun 12 '17 at 22:17
  • You can't really design navigation unless the information architecture is known to some degree... the local versus global menu is an important consideration, but is there enough detail to make a design decision? – Michael Lai Jun 12 '17 at 23:33
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As i see from your image there is ITX with home icon and there is link(text) home also, i think the both buttons/links serves same purpose(correct me if i'm wrong) so if that is case then why should there be two buttons/links . check my image make a logo which is clickable and which serves as home click. So in this case. Let me know if this isn't solving your problem.

  • Thanks for your response. I only included the screenshots to try and highlight the issue of my question - i.e. whether the static menu should be above or below the banner? The menu options and/or home icon are irrelevant to the actual issue I'm trying to resolve, as the banner served a different purpose to just providing a home button/logo. But yes, in the final design we will have a clickable logo taking users to home. BTW, I do like the mockup you created. :) – Monomeeth Jun 12 '17 at 22:25
  • +1 Probably the same solution I would have proposed based on my comment... – Michael Lai Jun 12 '17 at 23:31

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