I have a web application with a left menu where each item can have sub-menus within it,similar to this example :

enter image description here

Now,if I am under a particular menu and then I navigate to another menu item what happens to the previous selected menu/sub-menu options?

  • Should they get collapsed automatically?
  • How is this scenario handled from a UX perspective?

1 Answer 1


The problem with patterns is that it’s hard to stand out when you’re doing the same thing everyone else is doing. But you don’t want to deviate too far from functionality with something as important as navigation. You need to find that sweet spot right between familiarity and creativity.

While thinking outside the box is usually a good idea, but there are some rules that you just can’t break. These are the navigation principles.

  • Simple
  • Clear: Alignment and Placements of Parent and Child Links
  • Consistent
  • Smart Reflex: Smart On-Click and On-Hover reflexes.

Your scenario:

1) Should they get Collapsed Automatically?


Explanation: Try less to confuse or making hard for users to navigate through your application. Collapsing the previous helps users to know where application needs users attention.

Showing unnecessary items could mislead or misinform them.

2) How is this scenario handled from a UX perspective?

Yes they should collapse

Explanation: Having a look from perspective of UX, again it is best practice to collapse them due to two reasons:

  1. Unnecessarily possible of scroll bar to appear

    It may be possible that due to allowing all parent menus to remain open, which brings in the vertical scroll-bar(According to your case). Scroll bar is not god to appear here as it's not helping user or look and feel in anyway, its just useless in here(depends case to case). Instead it makes users to do more than just what is required that is scrolling and finding link.

  2. Small screen widths

    Also when it comes to responsive, in mobile/tablet devices it may possible user might click where they didn't intend to, due to small screen widths.

"It doesn’t matter how good your website is if users can’t find their way around it."
- By jerrycao

  • thnx for your comments.. Commented Jun 23, 2016 at 11:26
  • 1
    @NiravChadda, Glad, that it helped you.
    – divy3993
    Commented Jun 23, 2016 at 11:27
  • @NiravChadda If you are satisfied with the answer, you can mark the answer as accept. Just saying!
    – divy3993
    Commented Jun 23, 2016 at 11:30
  • 1
    @NiravChadda, Also answered here Check this: ux.stackexchange.com/a/96072/67970
    – divy3993
    Commented Jun 24, 2016 at 8:12

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