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Can any one tell what is the advantage of using side panel menu and top menu bars, which is best in which case?

I have a project to work on next, where it is required to keep the progress indicator tracked to the user through out the process of filling multiple forms.

Also, consider it is a RWD.

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    This depends very much on the context. What is the problem? What are your own thoughts about side and top menu's and what are your concerns? Can you explain more about the forms and maybe add some screen shots or wireframes to show your current ideas? – jazZRo May 22 at 10:26
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    What is a RWD? Real World Dilemma? – Mike Mark May 22 at 12:15
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    @MikeMark Responsive Web Design – Rob May 22 at 17:01
  • More info with reference to the previous statements I have case like this. 1. I have top navigation for different functional requirements individually. 2. One of the menu has a form to be filled by user and there are steps with different forms in each. In this case, on what parameters it is best to use which one. Also i have to keep in mind this is a responsive web and it needs to be best viewed on phone as well. Let me know how can i get in touch with you. Request you to spare some time for this. – Ashwin Kulkarni May 24 at 7:51
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Now probably that's not a great answer, but top panels allow you to put the full menu item name without taking too much space. Side panels have a tendency to show icons mostly because the space they take if you add the full name of the icon will be vital.

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    Hey not exactly. The choice of pattern is very much context-oriented and the pre constraint of the applications if there is any. Having icons or not that's a different debate. – Swapna May 22 at 12:17
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Context is pretty important for this one.

For general websites I have always considered top navigation as primary and sidebar menus as secondary navigation. The advantage to sidebars here is where there is lots of information and having the preview of other sub-menu items highlighted can expedite users finding what they're looking for.

E-commerce and catalogue type sites are very commonly using top menu for navigation/categories and the sidebars for filtering. There advantage there is just narrowing down results as you're commonly on a second page at this point so leaving the main menu alone is just keeping things standard.

Web systems with more of a dashboard feel fairly commonly user sidebar menus. I'm not sure if this is advantageous or just common practice for web. I'm working with lots of touchscreen dashboard types interfaces these days so there are huge advantages here just with my users environment.

For a Responsive Web Design I don't think I would touch sidebar navigation unless I had a strong Use Case pointing me to do so.

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  • Dylan Thanks for the answer. I have case like this. 1. I have top navigation for different functional requirements individually. 2. One of the menu has a form to be filled by user and there are steps with different forms in each. In this case, on what parameters it is best to use which one. Also i have to keep in mind this is a responsive web and it needs to be best viewed on phone as well. Let me know how can i get in touch with you. Request you to spare some time for this. – Ashwin Kulkarni May 24 at 7:48
  • Hmmm yeah if there are forms and steps involved we might want to look at your use cases and see if there are any alternates methods which might be more successful. If you're expecting loks of mobile users we should plan for them and scale up for responsive instead of planning for a full screen and responding down. My twitter is on my profile, if you reach out to me there I'll DM you my email. – It's Dylan May 24 at 19:16
  • Thanks for the response. Let me try connecting with you. – Ashwin Kulkarni May 25 at 1:35

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