BC tip: Verizon - Tripling up to crack the navigation challenge

The US telecommunications giant does better than most in making up for the lack of a left menu.

The Feature

Verizon’s corporate information section, which is linked from the customer-facing site, has been relaunched with a new look and feel. As part of this it has adopted a ‘triple decker’ navigation system. There is no left menu, but parallel menus at the top provide routes to the third level of content easily. For example, mousing over Investors in the top menu reveals a menu below it with five links, including Financial Reporting. Mousing over this shows another six, such as Quarterly Earnings and Annual Reports. When one is on a second or third level page, the two top menus are in permanent view, so one can get directly to the other main sections of investors.

The Takeaway

Ever since a desire to create more space for visible content persuaded web builders and managers to dispense with left menus, they have struggled to regain the usability that has inevitably been lost. The particular problem is with moving horizontally deep within a site: we call this the navigation challenge, and have yet to see anyone cracking it fully.  

Verizon does better than most. It gives easy access to the third layer of pages, and has one advantage over its nearest parallel – the dropdown mega-panel – in that the top two levels of menus are in view. No extra click or hovering needed. It would be easier still if the third menu were also in view when at that level, but we’d guess it has been decided that would take up too much space. The answer could be to close the menus up a bit – and to add a breadcrumb trail for extra help. The question about how to handle lower level navigation is left hanging. But in areas where the full width page really does help – such as Careers > Working here – this is best answer to the ‘challenge’ we have seen for a while.

http://www.verizon.com/about/