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I have read sentiments online about the demerits of the trusty drop-down menu.

EDIT: By 'drop-down menu' I refer to the navigation bar on a home page, not a drop down list on a form.

Is it really bad for SEO? More importantly, is it bad UX? Is it time to consider an alternative navigation option, and if so, what would you suggest?

CONTEXT: See here for a debate over drop down menu usability https://econsultancy.com/blog/3543-huge-drop-down-menus-good-for-usability-nielsen#i.1654buda56frjq

and here...

http://www.impressivewebs.com/drop-down-menu-pet-peeve/

Please share your thoughts!

  • 2
    For what situation? It's rare that one solution fits every use-case. Dropdowns have their place, as do other navigation options. If you have a specific situation in mind then we can help out there, but it's a bit of a broad discussion question at the moment. – JonW May 15 '14 at 10:15
  • I too see less and less big pull down menus but I don't know if this is because of SEO purposes. It could also be due to a complex implementation in responsive design where the available real estate can differ very much. – Ruudt May 15 '14 at 11:00
  • Drop down or pull down? Hate drop downs (they always get in the way without provocation). Pull downs are fine. – Marjan Venema May 15 '14 at 13:07
  • Can you share some of these sentiments that imply drop-downs are now considered poor practice? – Evil Closet Monkey May 15 '14 at 15:31
  • @MarjanVenema: What's a drop-down? What's a pull-down? Googling seems to result in ambiguous interpretations, or text explanations with no examples. Links to sites containing either of these menu types would help :) – SNag May 18 '14 at 18:13
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Context is everything. There is nothing inherently bad about a dropdrown nor does it have "bad UX" it matters how its used to solve a problem. It is a simple picker used to collapse a list into a single line. As long as there is appropriate labeling to the field and it's contents are limited then I see no reason not to use it. As to SEO that may be a reason for possibly diminished use, I haven't done any specific competitive research to see if it is or isn't being used for navigation.

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They have their uses, however these uses are getting smaller by the day - here is a good article from NN group stating when they are acceptable to use.

http://www.nngroup.com/articles/drop-down-menus-use-sparingly/

In a nutshell they are of use if the options you choose from are between 7-11 choices, any less than this can be better solves with a radio button solution.

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Drop-downs are still very relevant in this day and age regardless of the platform. All operating systems are also using them so users are accustomed to using a drop down.

I would however look at alternatives instead of putting too many options/items in a drop-down menu.

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