I have 3 levels in my information architecture for my desktop dashboard. In the vertical navigation which measures H:500px W:200px I have;

  • Top level: 8 items
  • Second level: 9 items in total (one of my top level item has 7 second levels)
  • Third level: 12 items

Would you use an accordion style (which will make the menu long when expanded) or a sequential drill down menu? and why?



  • Sequential drill down menu sound so 1998 to me and has bad usability. Is difficult to navigate between dropdowns, diagonal selection could be a problem. The accordion looks more common for me on side menus. Analyse what is more common for your user and test it. Commented Oct 3, 2019 at 12:45
  • Thank you for your feedback.....it is definitely a matter of testing it with users.
    – Chris
    Commented Oct 6, 2019 at 23:57

2 Answers 2


The accordion menu expands its height for navigation through the levels. As your space has more height than width, it may be a good idea to use it, especially if you aim to not expand beyond the designated space. Here is a good example of a 3 level depth accordion

Dropdown menus can have different configurations, however, they always visually expand beyond the first level area. Here is good coverage of them. You can google more if you want.

  • Thank you for your feedback Pavlo
    – Chris
    Commented Oct 7, 2019 at 22:56

I would recommend an accordion menu.

There are several advantages to this menu style:

  • The previous menu items are still visible
  • It is flexible, allowing you to have a very long list that is still manageable
  • It allows user to jump from the third level back into another top level with a single click
  • It is a convention, so many users will be familiar with the UI pattern

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