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Are there any best practices associated with integrating the navigation of your Web based product with the navigation of your marketing pages?

Another way of describing this is:

Does it make sense that once a user logs into your product, the UX/navigation is entirely different from the logged out state, i.e. the marketing site and navigation they came from?

Which is better: making the two experiences completely different or as similar as possible?

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The two experiences should be completely different. I say that because they target two moments of the user interaction: 1- the customer wants no understand the product, its benefits and if this meets his needs and expectations. The public site will help addressing this questions and guide the user to the purchase moment 2- the customer is now a user (i know, the line is blurry). He has already made a decision and all he wants now is to interact with the product. Surfacing the same navigation items together with the product specific one will end up being confusing.

Like Paul I suggest the following: - take a piece of paper and draw the two navigation examples - go around and ask people to see if they can spot the context

Essentially test your hypothesis with users.

Hope that helps.

  • These has been my thinking too. Thanks for your answer. – Miguel Aug 22 '14 at 14:15
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Each interface has to be optimized for it's goals, and for those goals ONLY. The goals are different, so the interfaces would become different if you follow that rule.

It does not make any sense to show the marketing content to the user who has already bought the product (unless you have some exceptional situation). It's just irrelevant.

The other main reason, aside from irrelevancy, is the efficiency of your interfaces. For the best user experience, your user has to be able to perform what he needs as quickly and as effortless as possible. A universal interface will be just overloaded with visual noise that distracts user from it's tasks.

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What is best for one site/app might not be best for yours. There really aren't any best practices. Try whatever comes natural to you. Test it. If it doesn't work, change it. Don't over think it.

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it really depends on the product. could you elaborate more what kind of product are you referring to? some products such as news portals it would make sense to have a layout that get customized to the user's preferences after the user signs it. while before signing in the user will get generic content. in this case the answer would be to keep the ux similar.

e.g: https://www.myspace.com/

  • It's a product in the analytics space, so very different context than a content site. Thanks Razor for answering. – Miguel Aug 22 '14 at 14:17

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