attempting to handle tertiary and quaternary levels of navigation in a website. So for example:

Energy > Energy Procurement > Sustainable energy > Sustainable Energy within housing.

Energy (top level), Energy procurement (within a mega menu structure), and sustainable energy (within a mega menu structure) is all handled within a mega menu. The issue comes across when users come on the "Sustainable Energy" page there are pages beneath this (for example "sustainable energy within housing", "sustainable energy within retail", "sustainable energy within commercial")

How would you recommend this is handled within this page?

My manager has argued that this page should have been structured (it hasn't) to allow for a left hand navigation within the tertiary page ("Sustainable Energy"). (it hasn't). would love to see some examples and get your experience for how this UX issue can be addressed. Essentially the question is:

How would you recommend users navigate to and understand that there are links within and below the "sustainable energy" section? Are there any examples? (ps: yes they need individual pages for SEO and the content within the initial page is too long as it stands. This is not something I have control over_

2 Answers 2


Generally when you are going into more than three levels of navigation, you have to wonder whether the contents have been mapped out well enough (or need to be mapped out again) and whether it is worth just tweaking the design to make a deeply nested navigation work. Ultimately if there are changes to contents (invariably there will be) there will be a breaking point if you don't allow or accommodate for it in the design.

My gut feeling is that it might be better to limit the mega dropdown menu to two levels only (I don't know how large it is at the moment, but if you are using one then it must be pretty big), and then use traditional menu structures for the Sustainable Energy and its sub menus. I feel that this will give the users the biggest flexibility in being able to navigate easily within the relevant section, but also to skip out to other sections if the content is not what they are looking for.

  • Thanks Michael. I agree (not the answer I wanted to hear, but I agree). Do you have/know of any examples that you are referring to? Preferably one of each? (left hand nav and under title) Jul 25, 2013 at 15:04

How would you recommend users navigate to and understand that there are links within and below the "sustainable energy" section?

Put the links physically below the 'sustainable energy' header/title.

In other words, it's an issue of visual hierarchy.

The most common example would be vertical navigation along the left organized in a tree-model (secondary links indented under primary, tertiary indented under secondary, etc)

  • Agree thanks. Like Michael,appreciate if you could come back with some examples, I can't find any anywhere!! Jul 25, 2013 at 15:05
  • @DavidM Amazon uses a more complex version of this if you 'browser by department'
    – DA01
    Jul 25, 2013 at 17:26

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