Is Navigation Useful? Jakob Nielsen posed that question in an Alertbox article from 2000. He came to the conclusion that “users look straight at the content and ignore the navigation areas.” In essence, navigation is not as important as most designers make it out to be.
That was a major paradigm shift for me. I always thought that the main navigation would be one of the most important elements of a website. I couldn’t believe it, so I set off to look for minimalist websites that didn’t use navigation. Sure enough, I found plenty.
Thanks to reader Leon Paternoster who got me started down this path. After a flurry of emails and a couple of all nighters I even redesigned my own site (now with less, less, LESS!). Of course I had to purge nearly 600 posts and change platforms, but I would guess that you could go sans-menu with much less effort.
Screenshots and commentary
Click a thumbnail to view a larger screenshot and additional commentary. Links below.