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Caught in a Sticky Navigation

In the world of ADA compliance and web design, every aspect needs to be thoughtful. The core of your site is your navigation, and this means that your navigation needs to be considerate for all users involved. While I love the modern, minimal look where the navigation is a hamburger menu icon, that doesn’t translate well to all audiences. So how does one keep things modern without sacrificing diverse functionality?

The answer is sticky. The most requested navigational feature I’ve been receiving is to make them sticky. What does sticky mean? When scrolling down a page, a navigation used to go up, out of view and would require you to scroll all the way back up to the top of the site to get back to the navigation. This is when the “scroll to the top” buttons became more popular. Making a navigation sticky means the navigation will stay at the top of your screen at all times. No matter how far you scroll, your users will always have access to the navigation.

Like most things, this has its pros and cons. Here is a list of the benefits and the inconveniences of sticky navigations.

Benefits

The Obvious
All of your information is readily available and in the height of long homepages, this is definitely a plus.
You're Accessible
Not only can your users easily find your contact button and contact you quickly, but sticky navigations are great for ADA compliance. There is less movement of your central content, so users won’t lose their place. It’s also less unsettling to the eyes.
Branding is front and Center
Not only can your users easily find your contact button and contact you quickly, but sticky navigations are great for ADA compliance. There is less movement of your central content, so users won’t lose their place. It’s also less unsettling to the eyes.

Inconveniences

They're Jumpy
As clean as developers try to make their code, conflicts happen. This can cause some jumpiness to the navigation when scrolling.
Limited Space
Screen space is limited. In technical terms, we call this the “above the fold”. The fold is the space that the user isn’t seeing on the site. As they scroll, the fold moves and this means that our already limited space is shortened.

As you can see the benefits of the sticky navigation are worth the minor inconveniences. You have so much to gain from keeping your brand front center, your content easily accessible while keeping a fresh look to your site.

Published
February 18, 2019
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