I'm planning a new website for my company and I have a problem in designing my menu/search menu.

I have a menu with 18 categories arranged horizontally. I also have favorites/saved criteria (eg categories / brands / stores) and I want to be able to quickly view the result of my favorite criteria.

More over, I'm looking at the same time how to mix 2 types of search + the free search field.

I thought of making a bar like this: http://www.heberger-image.fr/images/92781_search.jpeg.html

What do you think about this ?

Edit: This is a E-commerce website that brands pay to display their Products / Services (no advertising) ... That is why it seems difficult to display certain categories more than others...

Then, all categories can be grouped into families, for example with the following categories: Women Men Juniors Children BB

Finally, I suppose we can have 4-5 families + Favorites. It seems to be a "good" number.

Here we can, I suppose, all these categories together in the family (for example) "For You".

Maybe my question should rather be: The main menu (family menu) with a submenus that display categories (for example: http://www.heberger-image.fr/images/32292_menu.jpeg.html) is relevant in the case of e-commerce website? the user experience is good?

3 Answers 3


Do you really need 18 categories?

I think the problem with your concept is that the ok/search button is at the and of the screen. It is really hard to see, and it will be hard for people to find it.

If it is possible, I would try to minimize the amount of categories.

You could have a regular search bar (like on CNN.com)

enter image description here

With the search bar users generally search in every content, but on the results page you could provide options for filtering results by 'my favourites' or by 'categories'.

roughly the content part of your results page could be sg like this: enter image description here

(for the categories there should be a drop-down menu and even a filter/go button could be added)

  • Hi Roland, We can perhaps merge two categories would be 17, but the others are importants and "mandatories" here (Mexico). Your remark about the search field and the Ok button is relevant and your example seems perfect for my needs, thank you.
    – Michaël
    Apr 16, 2011 at 6:11
  • Your welcome! :) Apr 18, 2011 at 6:51
  • I like the CNN-like solution: start simple and if there are many results you can filter by categories (you can show only categories with results for the query). Favourites could appear at the top with a typical star icon.
    – Pau Giner
    Dec 10, 2011 at 18:10

18 categories is too much for a horizontal layout. If you can try a vertical layout, then I think this would work well:

enter image description here

If the you must have the horizontal one, then you could do this:

enter image description here

Both these solutions are based on the assumption that you need to support both search and browsing all items. However, if browsing is not necessary, then I think you should just do this:

enter image description here

  • I already have a column to the right of the screen and having a column is left as I find myself with a minimum space in the middle to display products / services. I think your second proposal very interesting but I have a pretty header high and I'm afraid to no display any product or service over the line flotation, which seems to be an error for a site of E-commerce. what do you think ? Thank you.
    – Michaël
    Apr 16, 2011 at 5:59
  • You can use the menu you laid out in your sketch, with the favorites at the left. Or, you can collapse the categories to a menu of their own, but you probably want more visibility for them. Apr 16, 2011 at 13:30

I think your solution works well.

However, you should have "search everything" selected as the default. People are more inclined to use that.

Also, you should look into hiding the bottom row. You could use a "filtering system" when they click a category all topics not related are hidden. or you could use a simple hide/show and have the ability to add favorites and have those favorites always show.

Hope I understood and that what I said helps. Good luck!

  • Hi Jonshariat, Thank a lot for your answer. Sorry but the second part of your explanation is not clear to me. What do you mean in term of design by "you should look into hiding the bottom row" and "all topics not related are hidden". Thank's in advance for your answer. Regards,
    – Michaël
    Apr 14, 2011 at 22:01
  • That bottom row (you have in dark grey), should be hidden until a user clicks on a "Show" button. Then they can display. (like this comment field appears and disappears
    – jonshariat
    Apr 14, 2011 at 23:38
  • interesting posibility. thank's. Question: Good for a e-commerce website ?
    – Michaël
    Apr 16, 2011 at 6:03

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