Improve User Experience with Mega Menus!

Peter A. Liefer II | Posted: December 18th, 2018 | Updated: March 5th, 2019
Mega Menu

Screenshot of a mega menu from PrimeView’s website. When the mouse is held over “Web Design” in the main navigation, a large menu with related pages, images and descriptions are displayed.

Become Mega-Successful with Mega Menus!

What is a Mega Menu?

You’ve most likely have seen Mega Menus on websites since the early 2000s and used them but just didn’t know what they are called. If you are familiar with them but don’t know if you should use them on your site or don’t know how to implement them, then this article should help.

A mega menu is a drop-down menu that displays large panels divided into groups of related navigation options when a site visitor hovers the mouse over an option in the top navigation bar. With multi-level expansions, you can show your entire website’s navigation in a single menu. Visitors can go directly to what they are looking for and get deeper into a site with fewer clicks.

  • Mega Menus improve how users navigate a site
  • Navigation choices can be arranged through layout, typography, icons, and images
  • Allows user-friendly and visual grouping of pages into logical groups
  • No scrolling – everything is visible at once, no need to drill down into further sub navigations
  • Menu options can be revealed on hover, click or tap
  • Can be shown in different positions: top display left column or right column

But should you use them on your website?

If you have many pages and options on your website, you may want to use a mega menu. A traditional drop-down menu becomes difficult to read when the number of options gets too large. eCommerce pages particularly can take advantage of mega menus to display categories of projects. If you have a small brochure type of website with not too many pages and options, then they may not be helpful.

Help users find more so you can sell more

Mega Menus can improve user experience and web usability, which may help generate more sales. It also keeps visitors browsing your website longer. I say “can” because if they are not designed properly, they can just confuse people and cause other problems.

It is recommended if you have a lot of options on your site to have a professional web developer design your mega menu. Later on, we will discuss both the advantages and disadvantages and the best practices to make your mega menu a lead and sales generator.

 What can you add to a Mega Menu?

There are many WordPress mega menu plug-ins that can be downloaded for free. Paid for Pro versions offer advanced features that give a design team a rich sandbox to play in, with much flexibility on how they display the site’s links.

Features that can be found on free and paid Mega Menus include:

  • Add pictures and maps
  • Transition effects
  • Slider function
  • Carousel feature – the whole menu slides revealing more options
  • Add WordPress widgets
  • Add background images
  • Popup forms
  • Post grids
  • Add search boxes
  • Tabbed menus
  • Customize with CSS to match your template
  • Multiple menu locations with different settings for each location

The list goes on and on with Mega Menu developers competing with each other. But really you don’t want to make your menu too complicated stuffed with every feature or function as it will confuse visitors and lose its user-friendliness.

Mega Menus on Mobile

Most mega menus are mobile responsive. However, when designing menus for Mobile Devices you need to keep it simple. With real estate at a premium, a menu shouldn’t take up too much space. Mega menus are difficult to get right with limited space. But many people still browse the web on desktops and laptops so there’s a wide audience to support the use of mega menus.

Mega Menus can be set to appear or not appear on different size devices and different ones can be made that are customized to fit a particular device size.

Disadvantages of Mega Menus

  • Users can’t see that there are other options until they mouse over the main navigation. Conversely, when the mega menu is expanded, they can’t see what is under it.
  • It is easy to turn mega drop-down menus into sitemaps, allowing users to see every available option inside your menu. This can cause the user being paralyzed by all the choices available to them.
  • Putting too many links at the top of the page can be bad for SEO. Google’s official Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide (PDF) recommends that webmasters should avoid “creating complex webs of navigation links, e.g. linking every page on your site to every other page”

By keeping these pitfalls in mind Mega Menu pros outweigh the cons. Experienced developers of mega menus use best practices to mitigate negative effects on a website’s SEO, performance and user experience.

 Mega Menu Best Practices

  • Less is more: don’t inundate users with too many options. If you have an eCommerce site doesn’t display your entire product line on the home page
  • Create clear and logical groupings within the menu and give them prominent labels that can easily be scanned
  • Use simple, explicit labels that convey the nature of each group
  • Follow general good practice on the number of items in a category. 5-7 have been shown by cognitive studies to be good
  • Use bright colors with white space between groups to create a visual separation between the groups reduce the amount of work someone has to put in scanning a larger list of items

eCommerce Success

If you have an eCommerce site a Mega Menu is essential to eCommerce success. PrimeView uses a premium advanced Mega Menu solution that allows shoppers to quickly and easily navigate your website’s content. It provides complete control over your drop-down menu allowing you to include featured products, promotional imagery, forms, Flash and video within the menu. Not only does it allow for easy navigation, but it also reduces clutter, promotes relevant products and guides shoppers to exactly what they are looking for.

Contact PrimeView today for a free consultation and let us check out your website and see if a mega menu can benefit your business. If so, then get ready to grow! Our expert designers and developers are highly skilled at creating effective user-friendly navigation that delivers results.