13 Navigation Patterns

User experience (UX) is crucial to any website’s success in the modern digital era. Navigation patterns are a key component of UX since they affect how people engage with a website. The different ways that designers might organize and present content to users to make it easier for them to discover what they need quickly and effectively are known as navigation patterns.

In this post, we’ll examine the most common web design navigation patterns and how they might improve user experience. We’ll cover everything, from the traditional top navigation bar to the current hamburger menu.

Top Navigation Bar

The top navigation bar is still often used today and is arguably the oldest navigation layout. There are connections to different website areas in a horizontal bar at the top of the page. Top Navigation Bars provide quick access to the website’s most important pages and are simple to use. These can, however, be space-constricting, and having too many things can make it challenging to find what you’re looking for.

Sample demo:

See the Pen Top Navigation Bar by w3tweaks (@w3tweaks) on CodePen.

Side Navigation

On the left side of the website, to the left of the main menu, is a vertical menu called the side navigation. It is a common navigation style because it lets you see more items than a top navigation bar. Depending on the user’s preferences, Side Navigation can be either folded or enlarged. For websites with a lot of material or a complex hierarchy, this navigation strategy works best.

Sample Demo:

See the Pen Side Navigation bar Using HTML and CSS by w3tweaks (@w3tweaks) on CodePen.

Tabbed Navigation

A navigation technique known as tabbed navigation organizes content using tabs. Users can navigate between the website’s many sections using the tabs, which are horizontal bars at the top of the page. Websites with few divisions and pages of content benefit the most from tabbed navigation. They make the website look tidy and well-organized and are simple to explore.

Sample Demo

See the Pen Responsive pure css tabs by w3tweaks (@w3tweaks) on CodePen.

Breadcrumb Navigation

Breadcrumb navigation is a horizontal navigation pattern that shows the user where they are on a website. Since it resembles the breadcrumbs used in the Hansel and Gretel fable, it is known as a breadcrumb. Websites with a hierarchical structure or online stores should use breadcrumb navigation. It enables visitors to navigate between pages and comprehend their current location.

Sample Demo

See the Pen Pure CSS3 breadcrumb navigation by w3tweaks (@w3tweaks) on CodePen.

Accordion Navigation

“Accordion navigation” is a type of vertical navigation that uses accordions to show content. Collapsible panels known as accordions can expand or contract when clicked. For websites that need to categorize a lot of content, this navigation scheme works well. A lot of information can be displayed in a tiny area using accordions.

Sample Demo

See the Pen jQuery Accordion Navigation Menu by w3tweaks (@w3tweaks) on CodePen.


A navigation technique known as “pagination” separates the content into pages. For websites with a lot of content that can’t be shown on a single page, it works best. With the help of page breaks, users can find what they are looking for and move through the information more easily. The needed content, however, may be hard to find if there are too many pages.

Sample Demo

See the Pen CSS Pagination Styles by w3tweaks (@w3tweaks) on CodePen.

Mega Menu

A drop-down menu can display more items thanks to a navigation pattern called the mega menu. It works well for websites with a lot of content that can’t fit in one column. Megamenus can be changed to fit the design of a website, and they look good.

Sample Demo

See the Pen Responsive and Mega menu by w3tweaks (@w3tweaks) on CodePen.

Sticky Navigation

A navigation design called “sticky navigation” keeps the navigation bar visible even as the user scrolls down the page. As it guarantees simple access to the navigation menu regardless of where the visitor is on the page, this navigation pattern is perfect for websites with a lot of material. Sticky Navigation makes it easier to traverse the website, which improves the user experience.

Sample Demo

See the Pen Sticky Navigation Menu With Smooth Scrolling by w3tweaks (@w3tweaks) on CodePen.

Dropdown Menu

When a user hovers over or selects a specific section, a drop-down menu with a list of links appears. Websites with numerous sections and sub-sections can benefit from drop-down menus. They facilitate speedy and effective website navigation for users. On the other hand, having too many options might be confusing and make it challenging for customers to find what they need.

Sample Demo

See the Pen bootstrap dropdown hover menu by w3tweaks (@w3tweaks) on CodePen.

Mobile Navigation (Hamburger Menu)

The hamburger menu is another name for the mobile navigation pattern, which was created for mobile devices. When a user clicks on the hamburger menu icon, a vertical or horizontal menu will show up. For websites with limited space, mobile navigation is the best option because it uses less room than other navigation patterns. It’s less obvious than other navigation patterns, though, which can make it challenging for users to find what they’re looking for.

Sample Demo

See the Pen Pure CSS Hamburger fold-out menu by w3tweaks (@w3tweaks) on CodePen.

Step-by-Step Navigation

A navigation pattern called “Step-by-Step Navigation” leads users through a process or series of steps. It works well for websites that need numerous stages, like those for registration or checkout. Step-by-step navigation makes the user’s experience better because it makes the process easier to follow and understand.

Sample Demo

See the Pen Step-by-Step Navigation by w3tweaks (@w3tweaks) on CodePen.

Tree Navigation

A navigation pattern called tree navigation shows content in a hierarchical manner. For websites with intricate information systems, like online encyclopedias or libraries, it works well. Users can move through the content in an orderly and structured way using tree navigation.

Sample Demo

See the Pen Tree Navigation by w3tweaks (@w3tweaks) on CodePen.

Slider Navigation

Slider navigation is a style of navigation where content is shown using sliders. Users can browse material by swiping horizontally or vertically across sliders. Websites containing a lot of visual material, such as photographs or videos, should use slider navigation. By making the content simple to navigate, it improves the user experience.

Sample Demo

See the Pen Sticky Slider Navigation (Responsive) by w3tweaks (@w3tweaks) on CodePen.

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