Bottom Sticky Navigation Elements Versus Top Sticky Elements: Which is Right for You?

Navigation is among the most vital elements to consider in design; it guides the user through the online experience to meet their needs and the needs of the business. Sticky navigation elements have long been hailed as a user-centric solution to mobile and long-scrolling sites for a good reason; they result in perpetually visible navigation for easy movement throughout the site and to provide constantly visible visual cues for desired user actions. Sticky navigation improves user retention, engagement, page views, conversion, repeat business, and more due to these factors. Sticky navigation is a win for any actionable site, but when it comes to bottom or top sticky navigation, which is best? Avatar Web Design New York discusses bottom sticky elements versus top sticky elements and which is right for you.

Businesses must gain a clear picture of who their target user is, how they will use the site, and what points of navigation are necessary for the site to achieve its objectives, to understand whether top, bottom, or a combination of top and bottom sticky elements are best. These factors are important to decide how many navigational elements need to live on the website and how the site will be perceived as well as utilized, which will play a major role in how the site should be designed, especially regarding navigational elements.

Top sticky navigation appeals to the user expectation factor, especially if the business’ target audience is a less tech-savvy demographic who expects to see navigation at the top of the page. Maintaining navigational elements at the top of the fold keeps them visible to new visitors as soon as they enter the site which can impact retention through immediate visibility, communicating what the website has to offer at first glance.

Bottom sticky navigation leverages user behavior by accommodating the “thumb zone.”  Keeping navigational elements at the bottom of the page near where the user is holding the phone creates easy finger navigation accessibility.  However, to be easily used, there needs to be ample spacing between navigational elements otherwise users will touch the wrong elements accidentally, leading to user-frustration. This means that bottom sticky navigation should be limited to only top-level, frequently used actions; usually limited to no more than five to avoid cramped navigation. This can be a perfect format for a site with minimal navigation elements or one that employs double exposure sticky navigation.

Using a double exposure of navigational elements, such as adding frequently touched navigation links at the bottom within the “thumb zone” while maintaining a more in-depth navigation bar on top, can help to create an interface that has better appeal to all mobile users, but isn’t always necessary. Combining top and bottom sticky navigation is a good practice, however, for sites that are rich in points of navigation, such as e-commerce.

Whether to use top, bottom or a combination of top and bottom sticky navigation depends on the amount of navigation you have, what will appeal to the target user, and understanding how those users will use the site. Looking at website navigation from the standpoint of the customer will help to deliver a superior user experience, which will lead to increased SEO, traffic, website metrics, social proof, and overall revenue driving ability. Examine business goals, user analytics, and web performance analytics to fine-tune navigational design and take advantage of the user-centric benefits of sticky navigation, whether used on top, bottom, or both.

Avatar New York Web Design is an innovating, award-winning web design New York firm dedicated to providing clients with responsive websites that help grow brands and convert visitors to customers. With an expertise in web development, branding, cloud hosting, mobile app development, and CMS and e-commerce solutions, Avatar New York's top tier designers have the ability to create intelligent websites for any type of business.