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Leverage Mega Menus For Improved User Experience And Organization

leverage-mega-menus-for-improved-user-experience-and-organization
Leverage Mega Menus For Improved User Experience And Organization

A mega menu makes it easy for customers to find what they’re looking for on a website, with a helpful dropdown that lists product categories.

Your website menu can make or break the shopping experience. Customers navigating your ecommerce store can either get lost in a maze of options or cruise easily toward their purchase. For stores with a lot of content or complex site structures, mega menus are handy if they keep the user in mind. Here’s how to harness the power of the mega menu to boost sales.

What is a mega menu?

A mega menu is a menu type that displays several different categories in a large multi-column format that eliminates the need to scroll. You will generally find mega menus on the web page header, but like other styles of menus, they can appear on the sidebar or footer.

When users click or hover on a main menu, a panel unfolds and expands, usually filling the page. It can reveal links to specific categories that were not previously visible and include rich content (images and product and brand descriptions). In contrast, traditional drop-down menus usually only show one grouping of links when you hover over a menu item.

For example, an online store that sells a large selection of household goods and clothing for all ages might install a navigation menu widget to create a mega menu. Once it’s live on the site, the menu accommodates text, links, and images within each menu category.

How mega menus organize content

Usually, in a grid layout, they present categories and sometimes subcategories in rows and columns instead of in a single list. A combination of top-level menu items, second-level menu items, and so on organizes a large amount of information along clear pathways. To further avoid clutter, mega menus use plenty of white space (space with no text, images, or other visual elements).

Whether you use a mega menu plug-in like Max Mega Menu or a combination of custom CSS, JavaScript, and templates for your menu, aim for a responsive mega menu that adjusts to the width of a target screen size. Hence, it’s functional on a phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop.

Benefits of mega menus

Here’s how mega menus can deliver a positive user experience for customers and benefit businesses:

Enhanced navigation

Because a mega menu has more levels than a dropdown, you can show deeper layers of the website structure. You can present subcategories alongside other subcategories, displaying your site’s hierarchy and content organization and giving website visitors a clear path to specific content. This decreases the need for scrolling, saving shoppers time.

Increased discoverability

Since mega menus showcase more of your site’s content, users might click on links they would not have otherwise found.

Featured content

Mega menus give you room for featured content. You can add photos, GIFs, and calls to action—or anything else that adds visual interest. You can also use the space to encourage visitors to take a specific action. For example, featuring a special offer prominently on your menu may pique visitors’ curiosity.

Examples of high-quality mega menus

The following website mega menu examples incorporate creative designs and functionality:

Crockett & Jones

Crockett & Jones sells luxury handmade shoes. Each menu item in the top navigation row reveals an attractive mega menu that spreads across the page.

The men’s shoe category, for example, categorizes products across three columns: By Style, By Collection, and By Season. And there’s still room on the right side to include product photos and a block of descriptive text. Hovering over each item in the mega menu changes that right-hand view. Without leaving the menu, you can see and read about the full line of shoe products.

The Crockett & Jones mega menu organizes product categories alongside a striking image of a pair of boots.

Stated Outfitters

Stated Outfitters sells high-quality, sustainable T-shirts and garments designed and printed in-house in Benton, Arkansas. On its website’s menu, hovering over most of the navigation options opens a sleek and simple pagewide mega menu. Mega menus let the brand show its many links in a simple format. For example, the Brands category features 19 links spread out over four columns—on a standard menu, this would often force a visitor to scroll down to see all the offerings.

Stated Outfitters' site's mega menu is minimal, with four columns listing clothing brands.

Belstaff

Belstaff’s mega menu features a mix of content. For its men’s and women’s categories, for example, the 100-year-old clothing store highlights its history, different collections that might interest visitors, categories and subcategories, and images of a few of the products. It gives users a look at what the site offers.

Belstaff's mega menu has graphics, including an image of a model wearing the brand's clothes, and a product close-up.

Our Place

Our Place makes and sells cookware, tableware, appliances, and kitchen tools for enhancing home-cooked meals. Each menu item in the top menu bar opens an attractive full-width mega menu. Though concise, these menus optimize visual space to feature sales and bestselling products—paired with product photos.

Our Place's mega menu is simple, with best sellers listed first, a short list of categories, and images of kitchenware.

Archer & Olive

Archer & Olive is a stationery company specializing in notebooks, notepads, and accessories for journal writers. Its top navigation has only three items: Shop, Learn, and First Time Here? Each opens a different style of mega menu.

The Shop menu has text links, presented in five columns with ample whitespace to keep it decluttered. The Learn menu contains links to background information on the brand, educational content, and preorders, with a photo below to fill the lower menu space. The last menu frames the customer experience by pairing three categories of links (recommendations, mental wellness, and creative journaling) with photos.

Archer & Olive's mega menu combines text links with images of recommended products.

Mega menu FAQ

What is the difference between a dropdown menu and a mega menu?

A dropdown menu shows a single list of links, while a mega menu displays a broader range of links in an organized layout, facilitating easier navigation through multiple levels of the website.

What is the disadvantage of a mega menu?

Mega menus work best for websites with a wide range of product categories. Accessibility and adaptability to mobile devices can be problematic, too. Test mega menu behavior on screen readers to ensure it appears and works as intended.

What is the best use of a mega menu?

Mega menus are best when you have a deep product catalog. By flattening the site architecture, they can showcase multiple categories and subcategories in a single layout, reducing the need for users to navigate through deeper layers.

Are mega menus helpful for ecommerce websites?

Mega menus are especially helpful for ecommerce websites with extensive product lines and multiple categories. They offer shoppers a quick and effortless browsing experience, which can translate into more sales.

This article originally appeared on Shopify and is available here for further discovery.
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