I have seen a recent trend in duplicating the main site navigation in the page footer, not just as small footer links but boldly displayed across the page.

I have heard discussions explaining this as due to the increase in popularity of hybrid laptops (such as surface) or dockable tablets with keyboards, where the user reaches up from their keyboard to touch the screen. The lower menu is therefore easier to reach and the user can effectively keep their hands on the keyboard.

However in practice I have yet to encounter this in any usability studies. In your experience is this a common action?

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    Does this post answer some of your questions? ux.stackexchange.com/questions/5231/… – JonW Feb 14 '14 at 12:17
  • what exactly is the question? Also, I have a dockable tablet and if I'm using the keyboard, once I move my hands from it, there is no difference between top and bottom of the screen; this devices are not that big – PatomaS Feb 14 '14 at 12:41
  • Thanks @JonW. Some of the answers in that post refer to footer navigation complimenting the main navigation. However the focus of my question was more to do with any real world experience of touch-enabled users using the footer navigation as the primary navigation based on its relative proximity to the keyboard. – slaterio Feb 14 '14 at 13:17
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    Fat footers can greatly increase usability for people who arrive at the end of a page without finding what they want. Fat footers also strengthen structural SEO by guiding link juice to the site's best pages about each key topic... Sadly, some people can't let a good thing alone, and we've started seeing obese footers that stuff every link known to humankind into the page bottoms. The theory? It's good for SEO to feed the search engines an abundance of keyword-rich links. The reality? It's bad for users when you offer a link collection so big that it's impossible to scan quickly. – Chairman Meow Feb 18 '14 at 22:13
  • Source for my comment above: nngroup.com/articles/seo-and-usability – Chairman Meow Feb 18 '14 at 22:13

I've recently done this on a website I launch for a product I was working on called Lightning. On that page what I've done was use the bottom navigation as sort of a page navigation. This is useful if you use a parallax style page which can have a lot of information and you want users to navigate to it quickly.

The main navigation I use it to bring users between different sites within the product. Of course there are many ways to accomplish something like I've done. You can look at websites like Microsoft Surface who also do this but on the right hand side and with dots. I could argue that Microsoft's approach is slightly more complicates since you don't know what each of those dots represent.

I do want to caution though, since a dual navigation can often be confusing. Implement it in a way that would reduce friction and make sure you take into consideration user feedback. I was in the process of updating the one on Lightning for it to feel more like a page navigation rather than a global navigation as it does now.

A dual navigation is also very useful and use it on my personal blog. You have one primary navigation and a secondary one when the primary one is out of view. I make my secondary one pop out from the top, but I've also had it popping out from the bottom for a while. The reason I went from the bottom is so that I wouldn't distract users from my content, but it turns out some users didn't notice the menu at the bottom pop out and many scrolled to the top to find the menu again.

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