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Designing the Best UX for

Navigation Menus

With so many apps on the market, it can be tricky to engage your users with your app. And all will be lost if your users leave without exploring all the features your app has to offer.

This is where a intuitive navigation comes into play.


Navigation Menu is a powerful tool — it can entice users and make them want to explore the app while also increasing the chances of desired interactions with the app.



The Importance of Navigation Menus

You might think that users would find their way to your app through these obvious channels: in-app ads or search — however, users aren’t relying on these methods to find your app. While advertising does help, it’s the contextual relevance of your app content and its users’ habits that make the difference between good and bad app navigation.

In my  experience, the best navigation menus are: Intuitive and easily understood. Need to be short and simple. Capture users’ attention and compel them to engage with your app. The next question you’ll be asking yourself is: how do I make my app navigation appear in a way that draws users in and helps them explore the app and what the product offers?



Designing the Best UX for Navigation Menus

"Users may move from menu to menu quickly without having to remember where they are. Creating meaningful experiences with navigation menus can have a big impact on how users engage with your app."

To get started, let's break down the main goal of menu navigation and then discuss some ways to achieve those goals in your app's navigation menus. But first, what exactly is a navigation menu? A navigation menu is a menu that provides a range of choices across different screens of an app.


There are many options for designing navigation menus, from changing the order and size of different submenus to providing even more options than a user can see.



The User Interface and Navigation

Menus are a powerful way to display information and push the boundaries of what a mobile app’s user interface looks like. They are also a key part of the mobile experience.

Menus are used to assist the user to achieve one or more tasks, like opening, closing, or navigating to a specific view. Some examples of menu items are:

  • Changing themes or wallpapers
  • Replacing a profile picture
  • Adding new contacts
  • Adding new people to a group chat
  • Emailing an individual

When designing menus, it’s crucial to not lose the interaction’s purpose. This is the main goal of any menu. A more streamlined experience is better for the user and builds stronger trust and engagement.



Basic Rules to Follow When Designing a Menu for an App

Don’t make your menu random. (Don’t be random in anything, actually.) Start with a complete screen and be sure to place a “Home” button to start navigation. Start with a complete screen and be sure to place a “Home” button to start navigation. Position the menu content where it will be used most. Don’t make users hold on to the navigation while they explore your app, as this can slow down their access to important information. Avoid duplicate menus. Find the top menu item that users are actively interacting with most and place that button right in front of them.



Advanced Techniques for Creating a Menu in Your App

You don’t want to make the navigation menu a one-way street — think about your users’ behaviors and make your navigation menu reflect that. For example, you might encourage users to view their favorite activity feed. So you make your menu feature a large button that leads to a personalized activity feed.

However, make sure that doesn't clutter for your other main menu items.

Also, users may start using your app differently from today. In such scenarios it may be more useful to open up the app. May be for browsing purposes or to call up  someone.


To successfully create a useful navigation menu, make sure the menu allows users to effortlessly navigate around the way they want to. Not how you want them to do it.




Website and app layouts come in all shapes and sizes. The best way to get better at UX design is to focus on the bigger picture and put yourself in the users’ shoes. You can also get free UX design advice from David Bassuk of Leading with Design. David’s book, Getting closer to your users, guides you in the right direction.


I hope this brief article on navigation menus help you with your design.

Until next time.

AuthorAkansha Sharma
Akansha considers herself an unaffiliated scribbler. She studies law and business.

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