Tab Navigation for Web Sites – Done Right

A white, rounded square logo with an abstract S-shaped design on a gradient blue and purple background.

Hello world.

As you probably have seen, our new site uses tabbed navigation on our home page. We do this because we have a ton of information to convey right away. You still have to make choices on what is important, but it does give our visitors the ability to view it all quickly.

Anyways, enough hyping our own bad arse self. I wanted to use this as a good reminder on how to use tabs properly. The guru of usability Jakob Neilsen says the following:

  1. Use it for alternate views between similar areas.
  2. Logically chunk the data.
  3. Use it when users don’t need to compare data.
  4. Parallel in nature.
  5. Highlight the selected tab – MOST IMPORTANT
  6. Connetc the tab to the content area – SECOND MOST IMPORTANT IMO.
  7. Labels short
  8. Title Capitalization – Not sure why this matters.
  9. One Row
  10. On Top of content area
  11. Scope is obvious
  12. Fast response time

I would also like to add:

  1. That they need to look good and designed into the web site.
  2. That you need to focus the user on your most important content as the default tab.
  3. That if you have a bunch of tabs, perhaps consider an automatic rotation to let the user know there is multiple views.

Anyways, just our two bits.

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