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I am making a website that basically looks like this (http://jsfiddle.net/7Bq5L/):

enter image description here

The problem, to me, are the blue buttons on the right - they look boring. They are buttons that link to special pages that can't be accessed from the menu in the header, e.g.: Us On News, Our Calendar... I am not sure what kind of format I want to put on this special navigation div. It must be noticeable in the main page.

I can't find similar cases in websites I browsed, please give me some ideas. Ask me more if you need more information.

This is a very hard case, the website has like a tradition (it's made in 90s), you may say. They have left and right of the page with similar buttons. The goal is to change the style and format to make it look more appealing but not to create a completely new website.

  • I'm not really seeing what the question is here. 'The blue buttons look boring' isn't really something we can answer because it's not a question. What do you need to know here? – JonW Jul 26 '13 at 8:24
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Why not give a glance of the content contained behind the equivalent links/buttons?

Customers respond to novelty. Try to weave a little of the content into your starting page with more unique technics than simple buttons. Maybe with some sneak-peek encouraging your visitors to follow one of your links.

Your on the news? Show the first three lines of three references with you on the news. You have a calendar? Show the calendar or give the visitor a few dates with equivalent headlines.

Any try of separating your buttons on the left or right in a boxed manner might let the user think this is a sub-navigation or advertisement. Even if they are clearly indicated as buttons, users tend to be blind for some objects on websites. (Banner blindness, Jakob Nielsen)

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It could be one column right side menu. Also you can expand those menu items to blocks, where latest or popular links as well as links to appropriate special pages are displayed.

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If you want your navigation to be more noticeable, I would suggest moving it to the left. People will look at the left first. Source: 10 Usability Tips Based on Research Studies (see point #2). I got this article through another related question, which may give you some more insight: When is a right-handed navigation sidebar appropriate?

But, if you choose to put it on the left, users may think that those links change based on what they click on the top header navigation because a left navigation is usually used for second-level navigation. If you decide to use this, you may need to reorganize your links to have a top-level and second-level navigation.

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Here's a couple of ideas:

A) Replace those ugly blue buttons with DIV's with an image. the effect would be a grid of picture cells. Kinda like app icons on your smart-phone but with little or no margins.

B) replace the blue buttons with a smaller image + hyperlink. the effect would be more professional/mainstream media sites.

I would try going for option A w/ the single column of images (change the double column to a single column layout of DIV images). Perhaps place a hovering title over each DIV image as well.

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