You can have a website that has great content, looks amazing, or has great schemes on offer, but if navigation is an issue, most users will be put off and go away. Yes, that is how much a user-friendly interface and navigation matters. Each user coming to your website is like gold dust. You do not want this dust to disappear without taking advantage of its potential.
As such, the various aspects of navigation on your website has to be paid close attention to. One of the most important aspects as far as easy navigation is concerned in the sticky menu.
What Exactly is a Sticky Menu?
Most websites make their users scroll back to the top of their website to access the navigation menu to go to another page, topic, or section. These are conventional websites who have static navigation menus. Do you think if they don’t have to scroll all the way back up to navigate, they would be happier? The answer is not so straightforward, which is something we will discuss later here.
First, let’s understand what a sticky menu does and how it works. Call it sticky, fixed, or anything related. This is a menu of a website that is simply locked into place. What this means is that the menu can be accessed from anywhere on a page without the need to scroll up or down. This stickiness, if we may call it so, can also be applied to headers, footers, social media buttons, and stuff like that. Whatever works like this, will go to the user wherever the user goes to a particular webpage. It can also be called a floating menu or icons.
This means that you need to decide wisely what you want to act like a sticky menu, and just not apply this attribute to everything on a website or website. This would only make the user experience more irritating, and he will simply vanish.
Main Features of a Sticky Menu
The main thing here is that any element on a page can be made to stick if you think that element is important enough always to be in the eye of a user. You can also enable this feature for certain screen sizes only. Maybe it would work well on a personal computer with a large screen, and not so well on the mobile resolution of your website. This you need to decide on a case to case basis, depending on the design of your website and what elements you plan to make like a sticky menu. Advanced programmers can also think of doing stuff like peek through, positioning from the top, push-up, etc.
CSS is the best way in which you can implement sticky navigation. Besides, it is also the lightest and easiest way to do it. WordPress users can have a look at this.
This is just a brief overall example; it would require more detailed work. One thing does keep in mind, though. Avoid implementing sticky navigation using iFrames. Though easy to do, this particular method throws up more problems than solutions. It is not great for cross-browser compatibility, website security, and SEO.
Pros and Cons of Using a Sticky Menu
The most important thing about a sticky menu is easy navigation, which is pretty obvious by now. It allows users easy and fast access to any other page or section of a website. Surveys show that sticky navigation makes browsing more than 20% faster, and it is also that nearly 100% users prefer. It helps a user have some important content or links permanently in front of his eyes. This type of navigation also aids in retaining a user on your website. If other parts and links to your website are easy to view wherever a user is, chances are they he will more often than not click on them to go somewhere else when he is either done of half way through a particular page. This can also help branding, in which you can make sure your company logo is always visible to a user. And lastly, sticky navigation can also be used to design a website or webpage in a better manner. Remember, a user can vanish in the blink of an eye. Retention is the key here.
Sticky menus do have certain cons too. It can be a waste of precious space in case it is not of much use. This is not something that mobile device users would prefer. Screen size limitation is a big hindrance as far as this is concerned. Navigation can become more of a problem here. Sticky headers can also be too distracting or irritating if a user is looking to concentrate on some content on a page. If implemented, this has to be designed very carefully, and after much thought. You also have to keep advertiser needs in mind while choosing fixed navigation over floating navigation. After all, sponsors are paying for space on your website, and they want their share of the footage. And what if the most of a user’s screen is taken up by an Ad and a header? Not great, right? And the last thing that can come under a disadvantage is that it can add to the loading time of a page, which is something that is extremely critical in today’s day and age.
This website itself is a good example of a website that has implemented a sticky menu. If you are using a One Page WordPress Theme then using a sticky header will be the best option to enhance user experience. Check out CyberChimps Single Page WordPress Themes.
So take all these advantages and disadvantages into consideration, besides your website design and needs, and then only think of implementing or not implementing sticky menus. Thinking from a user’s perspective is always the best way to go about things.