No other device factors into overall site navigation and usability than the menu. Menus can take several different shapes but all effective menus have one thing in common: they effectively organize information and provide a meaningful overview of the site structure. Websites with fewer individual pages can get by with only one level of navigation, usually displayed as a bar across the top of every page. More complex sites can employ drop down menus with multiple sublevels nested inside of main categories. Sites with ten or more sublevels in each category may employ “mega menus” that expand to show several rows and columns of subpages for each top-level menu item.
Menus walk a balance between being easy to use and displaying all possible information. It is often necessary to compromise between the two to deliver a menu that is usable but still allows quick access directly to the desired pages. Design and styling elements such as contrasting color schemes, highlighting, and hover effects can help point users in the right direction and make menus easier to navigate. Starting with a clear sitemap will make menu structures fall into place and make most decisions about menu structure automatic.