The idea would be that if you had a menu:

Feed | Settings | Logout

And for example, the user is on the Shared Documents page, and clicks Settings:

Feed | *Settings | Logout

*Shared --> Account --> Privacy-->

  • Shared Documents Setting 1
  • Shared Documents Setting 2
  • etc.

The Shared Documents settings are loaded, along with a sub-nav to access other types of settings.

If a user were to click Privacy, the Shared Documents settings fade out, the menu slides so that Privacy is now in a prominent position, and then the Privacy settings fading in:

Feed | *Settings | Logout

*Privacy --> Shared --> Account -->

  • Privacy Setting 1
  • Privacy Setting 2
  • etc.

I've seen similar conventions at work on the mobile platform, yet none come to mind for the web.

Can anyone share their thoughts on why something like the above may not be more prevalent in Web applications?

  • What is the significance of having arrows pointing between different types of settings?
    – Rahul
    Apr 8, 2011 at 9:19
  • @Rahul - To symbolize that their position changes (slides)--think Windows Phone 7.
    – jlmakes
    Apr 8, 2011 at 9:24
  • I'm a little confused. Are you're describing making a web site behave like an App in a "psuedo" development GUI? If so, it may be that just changing positioning as you're describing can be challenging to make accessible with tabbing, which a lot of power users do, and probably for assistive technologies too.
    – Susan R
    Apr 13, 2011 at 23:12

2 Answers 2


I think that defaulting to certain Setting based the user's current page is a great idea, and there's nothing wrong with the content sliding in and out, but I would avoid having navigational elements changing location.

If a user knows they want to get to the Privacy settings, the link to that would be in a very different place depending on where they are on your site, which would make the user pause and have to think.

A site's navigation should be consistent, something that your users can count on to do what they expect.


I really enjoy your idea.

I don't see why it would not work on the web, especially as users are trained to navigate in this fashion on their phones.

Just remember not to carried away with your transitions. You talked a lot about sliding and fading. These should all happen extremely quickly. Users don want to wait, even if it looks nice the first time.

  • Not all users are 'trained' to work this way on their phones. The vast majority of the world's web users don't have smart phones, particularly when you limit that to touch screens with gestural interfaces. Apr 20, 2011 at 19:17
  • @ jameswanless Thats why I said "...as users are trained" Guesters are wildly successful because they are intuitive. My parents and friends parents have iphones and learned extremely quickly how to master it. Coming from people who call me to "set up the dvd player" (which involves plugging in two cables and switching to the right input" haha
    – jonshariat
    Apr 20, 2011 at 19:22

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