Vertical Navigation vs Horizontal Navigation

When designing a website one thing to consider is navigation. Which is better vertical or horizontal navigation, does it really matter

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Article: Vertical Navigation vs Horizontal Navigation
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Article Published / Updated: Fri, 29 Jul 2016 10:10:00

Before setting out to design a website for our client several elements are discussed with the client. One of the most important questions is navigation, specifically whether we will use horizontal navigation or vertical navigation.

As digital marketing experts we have a really good idea about what works and why. Below you'll find the pros and cons for each type. Then we'll tell you what we think really works.

Website navigation displays the various sections and pages of your website. It is very important that your navigation is very clear and has links to the most important pages on your website.

Vertical Navigation Pros

Vertical navigation allows you to place links to other sections of your website in an organized manner down the left or right side of a web page or hidden inside a menu icon on the top of the page, very much like the one we are using, which opens up and displays links to pages.

This type of navigation system is very attractive because we can house a large number of links down the left or right side of the web page and if we use the icon mode we can hide the navigation so that it does not take anything away or clutter the web page.

Vertical Navigation Cons

Vertical navigation if not hidden by an icon takes up valuable real estate. This space can be used for creative and content!

Vertical navigation also displays more links. Having more links can confuse visitors. Too much choice is not usually a good thing.

Computer screens have really changed over the last few years. The have become more horizontal or wide screen. Keeping in mind that we want the most important part of our website to display before the fold of the page, if our verticle navigation is too long a lot of links or buttons will be cut off.

It is also a good idea to limit the number of links on a page to less than 100. Search engines see too many links and they think spam.

Horizontal Navigation Pros

Horizontal navigation takes up much less space thus allowing the users to focus more on the content appearing within the fold of the web page.

Horizontal navigation can and does limit the users' mouse movements.

Horizontal navigation can contain drop down sub menus for a wider selection of links to specific sections.

Horizontal Navigation Cons

Horizontal navigation limits the number of links you can display.

If you use drop down menus to add links, the drop down usually will cover content.

You will have to add the same menu to the bottom of your page just for a better user experience.

Digital Marketing Our Expert Opinion

Here is what we know. 90% of the population is right handed thus their mouse is in their right hand. Also more that 90% of left-handers also hold their mouse in their right hand. So it makes sense to put items you want your users to click on, on the right side of the page.

Our company has built a lot websites with both forms of navigation, vertical and horizontal. For us there is a clear winner simply because of web page real estate, mobile and smart phones.

Navigation should be clearly visable, located at the top of your page, on the right side, with a clearly marked menu icon.
Take a look at our website navigation to see and understand what we mean.


1) It looks really cool when it opens up. And that is important.
2) It does not distract the user from the main message on the page.
3) It is easily accessible with just one click.
4) Using HTML 5 and CSS 3 you can custom design it to look and feel however you please.
5) It will work the exact same way on your mobile or smart phone if you use a responsive website design.


We can't stress this enough, Keep It Simple. Focus the users, give them what they are looking for quickly. Don't distract them.

Hidden Vertical Navigation Right Side - Carefully select important navigational items, if the list is too long, and put them at the top of your vertical menu.

Don't use left side vertical navigation. It is confusing.

When you really want users to click on and goto a specific section of your website, use right side Call To Action navigational banners to draw attention to those sections.

If you follow these simple tips you'll soon see conversion rates sky-rocket!

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Artemis Glikakis is the Managing Director of Position Front Page International Co., Ltd.. His expertise in this field of Internet Marketing and Search Engine Optimization, has lead him to write many articles on the subject and he is always in the forefront when large clients come along.

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