I'm making a portfolio site with a few pages on a standard nav bar: Home, Contact, Portfolio, About, Career

As this site is to showcase my skills it is leaning heavily toward "design" as opposed to just "functional". While designing the site I realized that it looks a bit silly to have the nav item "Home" when on the home screen, and "About" on the about screen, etc. It appears to me to be wasted space as the items will have no (useful) functionality and possibly even be confusing. Especially when I design for the mobile site, that is valuable real estate being taken up. However, it may also be confusing to remove these navigation items on separate pages, making the nav menu appear inconsistent.

So my question is, is it better to keep the nav items consistent between pages even if they are taking up valuable space and do not provide useful functionality. Or remove the nav item that links to your current page, freeing up space and unnecessary functionality, but create inconsistency between pages?

  • 1
    Use the "wasted space" to indicate the user's current position in the IA. Apr 7, 2016 at 17:36

1 Answer 1


Keep it consistent.

According to Nielsen's Top 10 Information Architecture (IA) Mistakes:

  1. Inconsistent Navigation

Navigation exists to help users, not to be a puzzle in its own right. Users should be able to understand it immediately, and apply that understanding throughout the site. Sadly, lots of sites change their navigation features as users move around. Options come and go, making users feel a loss of control. How do I get that menu choice back? I saw it just a few pages ago.

Although global navigation is not a site's most popular element, its persistence serves a key purpose: it's a beacon that helps users understand both where they are and how they can easily maneuver back to the top of the site if they lose their way.

  • Thanks I figured there had to be a rule for this. I figured the large header would tell the user where they are but I suppose this will help too.
    – DasBeasto
    Apr 7, 2016 at 17:42

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