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I'm making a website now, and to be honest I'm not really a designer. Currently the site I'm making does not have a fixed header, and I'm not sure if I should make it fixed or not. A lot of sites I use do not have a fixed header, but I see the potential and use of it.

My question for you: What do you think of fixed headers on websites? Does it make the website easier to use, or do you think it's waisted space? Or do you think it's useful but only when you're on a certain device?

  • One thing to think about is the size of the header and whether or not it can expand. A small header close to the size of a menu bar on a desktop program will be less intrusive than a header that takes up 50-100 pts on the screen. – intcreator Jan 26 '16 at 18:59
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To answer this question (as well as many other on UX) we have to start with user stories.

Story A. User requires frequent access to navigation elements and these elements are in the header. Then, yes, it's better to fix the header and don't let it go with the scrolling.

Story B. Critical information is displayed in the header. Then it's better to keep it on the screen all the time, unless you can keep the message without the header.

Story C. Header is needed occasionally, but the content on the page is really long, so user would spend too much time scrolling. In this case, you may either fix the header or provide an element to go to the top quickly.

Your user story may be different, so I can't advise without knowing it, but the rule of thumb is: if it's frequently needed - keep it, otherwise let it scroll out.

  • Great points. I'd just add that a fixed header does not necessarily need to be identical to it's top-of-page counterpart. Feel free to streamline the header choices (subtly) on scroll so it can better fit the scrolling use case. Amazon is one prominent example. – plainclothes Jan 26 '16 at 19:50
  • Great answer. Also you could consider a fixed sidebar instead of header. Horizontal real estate is a lot cheaper than vertical real estate these days. – spozun Jan 27 '16 at 0:21
  • Thanks for your answer. The site I'm making will have a lot of products (for every product a different page) so I'll make the site with a fixed header. :) – Jeff Jan 28 '16 at 12:30
  • @Jeff Glad it helped :) – mikryz Jan 28 '16 at 21:02

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