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I am doing User Experience research and I would like to know where Is there a “best place” to put navigation/menu bar in an app to give the best user experience and why is this?

By navigation I mean the menu that allow the users to go to different views in app.

I have seen different apps, having their navigation in different places but which one is more common and why?

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UX is not about rules, it's about solving unique problems within unique context. Problems in UX differ greatly as there are always many variables involved, so each problem is looked within its particular context.

There really isn't a "best place" to put navigation - it depends.

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  • which one is more common? – Reza Del Oct 22 '15 at 21:00
  • there is no such thing as common...editorial apps may have one set that is preferable, data driven another, games a whole other. Each app is unique and comes with its own challenges that requires its own execution. – Stanley VM Oct 22 '15 at 21:15
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Menu is typically considered a commanding paradigm, rather than a navigation paradigm. THat being said, you should look at established precedents for your specific type of app/site. Each type of app/site has its own needs, like how many levels of hierarchy in the navigation, the context in which it will be seen (phone vs tablet, vs laptop. Also, operating systems / framework would drive certain patterns that you should use if you do not have a strong reason not to.

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There's no one "best place" for a nav menu. The top, either above or below a banner, or on the left, are the conventional places, and conventional places are good because people are accustomed to them.

Very important are the design features of the nav menu: typeface, font size, color, borders, etc., all should work together to say "this list contains the main parts of this site (or app)". If you do this correctly, it should be obvious and clear whether menu is located across the top, vertically aligned on the left side, or even on the right side (but I would stick to the more conventional left side or top).

Another factor is the number of items on the menu: 5 or so items might layout nicely on the top, but more than that might require more than one line, making a vertical array on the left more attractive and clearer. The wording of the menu items and the font size factor in as well. As a very general rule, if I can comfortably fit it on a single line I put the nav menu at the top, otherwise as a list on the left side.

Most importantly: do not hide the nav menu behind a hamburger button unless you absolutely have to because of space constraints. There's plenty of evidence that unnecessarily hiding the nav menu is a UX mistake.

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