When is a right-handed sidebar for navigation a good choice? If possible, I would like some examples where it has been used, such as this sidebar from Google's official blog. enter image description here

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    what do you mean by right-sided navigation? Commented Oct 17, 2011 at 12:01
  • @AssafLavie I assume she means a sidebar menu placed on the right side of the screen. Is that true, Antonia? I or you can update the question to be more clear if that's the case.
    – Ben Brocka
    Commented Oct 17, 2011 at 13:07
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    You say "I want a navigation menu that is space saving and also very simple". Can you explain how a right-sided navigation would save space when compared to a left-sided navigation? I think a horizontal navigation may be space saving but I don't understand how a right-sided navigation can save space. Please explain. Commented Oct 17, 2011 at 14:14
  • @BaGi My question is for navigation on the right pls, I'm not trying to compare with other styles of navigation. Thank you
    – Antonia
    Commented Oct 17, 2011 at 14:28
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    @Antonia: In order to provide you with a good answer I need to understand what it is you want and why. Hence my question. The added screenshot is in fact not an example of a true right sided navigation. Those are in fact just links, labels. Comparable to this site. I don't consider this to be navigation. Commented Oct 18, 2011 at 5:49

5 Answers 5


Anything placed on the left of your screen will be looked at first by most people (reading left to right).

If your navigation is very important to you, then put it on the left. Historically this is also where most people expect to see navigation, so if they are looking for it, they will find it here faster.

If however you would like to emphasise your content, it is often a good idea to put your navigation on the right hand side. You can see this in many (if not most) blogs, where the blog content is significantly more important than the navigation.

There is also the added advantage to right-hand navigation in that most people will rest their mouse pointer on the right side of a screen when reading, which makes it a shorter distance for the pointer to travel to navigate on a right-hand side navigation.

In the end, it is something that you should test. Whatever anyone says doesn't matter as much as how it affects your customers, and which option has the best result to them.

  • Thanks, your comment is the kind I was expecting. That's the idea, I want people to look at the content on the left, which is very important but the content is not navigation. I still need to have a form of nav on the right.
    – Antonia
    Commented Oct 17, 2011 at 14:33

I agree with @John here..traditionally all the heatmaps talk about an F-shape while navigating or reading through a lot of content.

So if you look at some of the really content heavy apps they always put the navigation on the left..(gives you a way to quickly view what all there is to the website) I would recommend you check out Google Reader - which is an app just to read content and how brilliantly they solve the problem.

I wouldn't recommend you to go for a right hand navigation menu/bar because people don't expect it to be there - just the same way we expect Home Button/logo of the top-left of a web page.

We did test a right hand side call to action fields which worked out pretty well but than they were meant for different purpose. You must try it out though

  • Thanks Patrick, The navigation in my case has some 'Call to action' properties, but it will all be tested anyway. And looking at the heatmap, the left side navigation didn't fare too well. I will check out Google Reader.
    – Antonia
    Commented Oct 17, 2011 at 16:06

Right hand side is good for supplemental navigation. For example, if you have a set of quick links which appear across the website, the right hand side is a great place to put them.

Interestingly, in the Blogger example this is still supplemental navigation, even though it's the only actual means of navigation on the page. The primary way of navigating between posts is meant to be scrolling and paging, whereas the labels are just filters. A great example of the notion that "supplemental" doesn't mean secondary (/tertiary), it's not even part of the same hierarchy - it's just of a different nature.

  • Wow, I had no idea questions could be so modified. I was not asking if its appropriate anywhere..blimey. All I wanted was a positive case/reasons for navigation on the right-side and examples. Thanks for all the answers.
    – Antonia
    Commented Oct 18, 2011 at 9:09

I agree with Vitaly, right side is good for supplemental navigation that take you to "the next thing".

There is a difference between "regular" sites and blogs. Blogs historically all placed all filter options (categories, tags, calendars) on the right side because that was the standard that the publishing tools used.
These elements are used for navigation of a blog, but I dont see a reason for treating a blog differently than other sites: When we tested filters and navigation items with users, they never worked well when they were placed on the right hand side.


There are regions where you read right-to-left (Kurdistan is a region that comes to mind).

In such a culture, putting the navigation elements on the right-hand-side may make more sense, since that is where a reader's eye may start browsing the page.


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