Optimize Menus To Fit Available Space

August 18, 2015

I’ve been contacted by a few clients for Web sites recently that would like my help in making their sites better. In several cases, the menu at the top of the site suffered from having too many choices at the top level. One of the examples is shown below and I’ve covered up the name of the client as I don’t want to upset them or the company that originally designed the site.

two-line-menu

There are a total of eight items on the top level of the menu and five of those items drop down to reveal other choices. What I really don’t like is that the menu wraps to two lines. My goal would be to move some of the items onto a drop-down menu and eliminate extra words. For example, having “The” in front of the client name isn’t really necessary.

On the About Us drop-down menu is “Contact Us” so I don’t think having Contact as a separate top-level menu item is required. Plus there are numerous other items on the pages that allow someone to contact them. I found out later that “Communities” lists all the different blogs available. Before that, I had no idea it was talking about blogs. So I’d rename Communities to Blogs and that shortens the word a bit.

Career Services and Consumer Information have no drop-down menu. Could then be placed under another top-level item? If nothing else, shorten the word “Information” to “Info” and a few more characters are saved.

Once I had the menu fitting nicely on one line in a desktop Web browser, I’d look at the site on a phone and a tablet to make sure it looks good on those devices. These days you can’t optimize a site for only one viewing platform and mobile is becoming more and more important.

So whether it is your own Web site or something where you are working with a client, see if you can shorten the menus a bit. Maybe you aren’t even working on a Web site. You can still use this advice to try and eliminate text that isn’t needed in the project.

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