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Does user expectation of the footer pattern necessitate having NAV content repeated in the footer even if the site has a sticky NAV which might find the screen filled with 2 NAVs simultaneously at the bottom of the page?

I should mention that this is a moderately conservative site design.

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People began putting site navs in the footer so that the user wouldn't have to scroll all the way up once they were done reading the page. There were also accessibility problems with drop-down menus back in the day, so I remember being told that putting the expanded site menu in the footer would help that as well.

If you have properly accessible drop-downs on a sticky nav, I don't see the reason for putting a nav in the footer. I've noticed a few sites removing the footer nav when the sticky nav is added (look at mailchimp's new site).

The exception would be if the nav menu isn't sticky on mobile devices (which most people say it shouldn't be due to screen real estate). Then those users might still use a footer nav menu.

The BEST idea would be to track the links in the footer nav to see if people use it. If they don't, get rid of it!

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    Note with drop-downs in navigation, make sure you don't cut off users with no/limited JavaScript capabilities. The drop-down "category" should also link to a parent page, where you can reach all the sub-options. Also, +1 for tracking user behavior and adjusting per findings. Jan 31 '14 at 18:52
  • Thanks for the replies. I do think there are instances where the footer NAV may be redundant but for this project we are going to err on the traditional approach and will test with users to see how necessary the duplication is to their process.
    – syncr
    Feb 2 '14 at 22:42
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Yes.

Users expect there to be certain links in the footer, such as contact and about us. Usually the footer navigation does not look like the normal navigation, and is often displayed in a cleaner, column format that is simple to find what you are looking for. Sometimes the footer has more links than the navigation, and it can be helpful if you're looking for something specific.

The New York Times website does both.

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  • Can you site "users expect there to be certain links in the footer"? There are multiple sites lack footer navigation which does not appear to impact their usability. Jan 31 '14 at 18:48
  • In the case that you have an expanded menu like the New York Times, then I think the footer nav is probably a good call.
    – Nathron
    Jan 31 '14 at 18:49
  • @EvilClosetMonkey I cannot, but I believe it to be true and also something that might eventually go away as the sticky nav becomes a more permanent thing. It really all does depend on what is in your nav and what is or isn't stickied. Jan 31 '14 at 19:16

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