We have a large Website with hundreds of pages. We have a horizontal global navigation, and a left-local-side Nav to navigate through a group of related pages.

As I was browsing clicking down from the top to the lower links in the local Nav, one link **replaced the entire side nav with another group of side nav links". I became lost and confused. It took several seconds for me to realize what happened.

Intuitively, I think the local side nav should never be swapped with an internal click inside itself.

Is it just me, or is there some truth behind this?


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  • 2
    I hate sites with layout like this - so counter intuitive. Jul 20, 2012 at 13:16
  • I'm blanking on a better title, but your real question doesn't entirely match your bolded question. The internal click is what's killer, not just switching local nav; of course local navs should be switched when "local" switches.
    – Ben Brocka
    Jul 20, 2012 at 16:33

1 Answer 1


Before I address your actual question, I have to point out..

I have seen this layout many times and it always annoys me - the problems I see with that layout are:

  • Global menu takes you out of current site, yet appears to be a part of the site

  • Site menu is in a different region of screen, making it confusing - which menu are you supposed to look at?

  • Site menu is to the left of the content, thus taking your attention away from the content

I think that a more intuitive layout would be (from top to bottom):

  • Global navigation at top most region of site (above logo) - as clicking on these links effectively take you to another site.

  • Logo with customization for current site (e.g. company logo + a site element added to it)

  • Site menu

  • Content

Now to your actual question:

If clicking on a link opens a page/site with it own sub menu, I would use one of the following techniques:

  • Expand its menu in place (e.g. with an accordion control or a tree menu (assuming menu is at the left))
  • Add a sub menu under the current menu (assuming menu is at the top).


download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups


download bmml source

  • 2
    Yes Danny, I totally agree. This is a great solution to keep everything one side-nav. That is what I want to do. My problem is someone has already designed it... and it already exists the wrong way. So, I am looking for supporting facts to show that swapping the side-nav is a shabby user experience. I need facts and supporting information to back it up. So far, I cannot find any. But, thanks for the Implementation, I like it. Jul 20, 2012 at 13:58
  • 2
    In that case, check out this book: sensible.com/rsme.html Jul 20, 2012 at 15:07

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