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My application has quite a long menu. It's divided in 7 big sections with +5 items inside each one. Some of this sections have items that may never be used by the user (p.e. there is a Rubric evaluation item that may never be used by the user because you can evaluate the papers through other methods).

So my question is: What would be the best way to declutter the menu?

Having a first item where the user would activate the items to use? Option A

Having the item displayed to avoid the Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind issue but with an activation flag to avoid overwhelming? Option B

Or

Having the item normally displayed with its inside actions displayed, no prior activation nedeed? (Can't put the third image because of low reputation)

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How about putting each section inside a dropdown menu so only one section show sin full at a time, it will reduce clutter drastically and allow the user to find what he/she needs fairly quickly

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  • I think I'll give it a try. I'll use accordion (because it's a vertical menu), showing only the section title and an arrow to show that there is something to unfold in that section. – thewinger Jan 18 '16 at 7:08
  • Cool, if that worked for you could you vote my post up please. – David Sheridan Jan 29 '16 at 15:51
  • I've already vote your post up, but it says that until I reach the 15 points of reputation the vote won't be public. – thewinger Jan 31 '16 at 8:58
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Based on the UI attached, I'm assuming that you are toying with the idea of progressive disclosure; meaning some form of user activation to reveal the items that are available.

There are circumstances whereby progressive disclosure would fit slightly better, such as form filling, check out process etc.

In this case (a menu), a progressive approach would impede the user from selecting the items efficiently. Imagine if the user were to perform a couple of nested activation and discover that none of the items fits what he/she wants. It gets worse if you do a sequential disclosure, item A reveals item B.. If the user wants to get to item D, he/she has to activate item A -> B -> C. You get my point?

Since you mentioned some sections have items that may never be used by the user, then there is a good chance you might want to do more user research.

I would opt to show all the items available to the user. There is a good reason why most of these popular ecommerce sites (amazon, asos, etsy) show all the categories/items in their menu.

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  • Thanks for the answer. And yes, the idea was to have a sort of progressive disclosure, but as you said, it would impede the user from selecting the items efficiently. I think I'll give a take at what @DavidSheridan said and I'll put each section inside a dropdown menu (accordion in this case) to reduce clutter. – thewinger Jan 18 '16 at 7:06

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