Does it make sense to highlight current menu item in the mega menu, especially in the dropdown?

As far as I can remember I haven't seen any examples of this recently.

1 Answer 1


Yes it does make sense.

Highlighting the items will give users a sense of location: where are they, what are the possible paths to follow. It also transmits information of the areas where the user can interact in order to perform the task (going somewhere in your site). You NEED to inform the user where exactly she is. You can do this in many ways, and even combine them (for example, highlighting in menu and also using breadcrumbs). The important thing is that you transmit this information.

Think of this: if you're traveling on your car, visiting an area you don't know and you get to a town.... is that information useful for you? Think that most people there will know where they are, but in your case, you'll need that information. And additional information as close towns and cities, distances, etc. will be of much use as well. The same goes in your case: many people won't need it, but it will help to have it (not to mention it' a cost 0 implementation)

Now, if the question is: Is highlighting completely necessary? the answer will be test will tell you. In the age of responsive design, sites can be viewed in different devices, and highlighting and hover interaction won't be possible on touch screen devices, so there you have something to think about.

As for examples of this, I think Bootstrap and Foundation have these behaviors by default (I know they includes the classes to do this, but not sure if this is default. I'm 100% sure it's default for Foundation's Magellan component), and these are the most common grid systems.

  • The reason I'm asking that big players (e.g. NY Times, BBC) don't do it and, well, you will expect them to have some testing done.
    – Runnick
    Commented Jun 28, 2017 at 17:43
  • I did a quick check on NYT, and they do it, see markets.on.nytimes.com/research/markets/overview/…. They're very inconsistent throughout different sections, and it's true that sometimes they do it, sometimes they don't. I have mentioned Foundation and it's made by Zurb, one of the leaders in user testing. Apple does it as well, same as Airbnb, Uber and other companies that stand up on UX (incidentally, I never heard of NYT or BBC as examples of good UX, btw). So in the end, what I said: you'll need to test
    – Devin
    Commented Jun 28, 2017 at 18:00

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