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A nav menu as webpage

I’ve had an idea for a menu navigation in the back of my mind for days.

A menu that would be an entire HTML document: a site map for the user. This menu is a summary of the site. It allows the content to be viewed quickly.

Unlike a sitemap.xml, the links are sorted and structured to match the user’s needs. Only some links are provided instead of all of them. They can be grouped in lists and spaced visually.

Each page then links to this navigation page. The link to this menu can be “Navigation”, “Menu” or “Browse this site”.

I have quickly built such one raw menu: Browse this site.

In the demo, I added a link back to the previous page. I find it mandatory because not all users use the browser’s history functionality, or assume it’s broken (thanks SPAs). The rest is only links or group of links.

We can however imagine “bubbles” or better grouping. Bento-style groups can fit well. See bentogrids.com for examples.

This navigation would reflect the “main” navigation only. Sub-navigation can be accessed from the related pages on a big site.

One advantage from this UI is the place is efficiently used. Two navigation elements are sufficient on each page:

Another advantage is to search for content in one place. The structured content is available at one place. This organisation and a searchbar can make the navigation optimal. Both navigation options can better match the user preferences.

Here are my two thoughts about a menu page today. I find the structure appealing. I don’t know yet if it is a usable navigation for small site or at scale.