I've taken over a website that sells downloadable software and which consists of the marketing pages that are visible to all users and a 'control panel' that is visible to logged in customers. The 'control panel' allows logged-in customers to view details of their order, invoices, submit tickets etc. As shown below when a user logs in a secondary nav bar is shown.


download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

I'm wondering whether it would be a good idea from a UX perspective to combine these menu's so that when a customer logs into the website the global nav changes so there is only a single menu bar. It seems more intuitive to me. See example implementation below:


download bmml source

Site visitors are either potential customers and therefor would never see the alternate navigation or are customers who are not interested in the marketing pages and are looking to administer their account. It would therefor seem that combining these navigation links would make sense.

Am I missing anything, is there any best practice rules relating to a dynamic global nav? Would you do anything different?

2 Answers 2


There's probably no harm in making the account-holder's menu the primary menu for account holders; it will probably be beneficial because those are the functions they are more likely to want.

But you shouldn't prevent access to the other menu: you are preventing them from seeing a price list, for example -- or getting the URL of the price list to give to a potential customer.

What you could do is insert the new menu into the old one, shifting the now-secondary entries off to the right:


download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups


If you completely replace a navigation menu with another, users lose their orientation on the site. Adding more items to a navigation menu allows you to add more pages without and keeping that base consistency.

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