Fixed Navigation Bars: In or Out?

Fixed Navigation Bars: In or Out?

Fixed navigation bars have become a dominant trend in most of the sites across the web. These bars allow to easily access the website’s main functionalities, regardless of whether a user is in the middle of a page. Though, few critics call it an unnecessary and distracting model.

As such, the pros and cons of these fixed navigation bars can be listed as below.


• Enhanced usability
The fixed navigation bars make the browsing experience on website a lot easier. Having these ensures a main menu of options at an immediate disposal of the user, especially if the website has large amount of content on a page.

This is beneficial in several regards, but main benefit is speed. A smooth and fast flow through the website is very important. With an always present guidepost set firmly at the top or side of the screen view, a site owner does not need to worry about his or her user reading or navigation experience being damped.

This is extremely significant when the site is dealing with enormous amount of content. Popular examples of this concept come in the form of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Both of the sites feature news feeds with infinite information being loaded up at the bottom of the screen.

In the absence of these bars, user can often waste hours digging through the never ending lines of content, links, and other material.

• Enhanced Speed
Also, when there is a lot of content on the site; for example, take a website listing a range of content on travel destinations. This content may include history, possible visiting time and places, cultural heritage and a lot more details pertaining to a destination. Basically, it’s a lot to scroll through. But with a sticky bar at the top, navigation turns a lot quicker and easier allowing a user to find the required information in no time. In fact, the amount of time this technique saves is really appreciable.

• Prevailing Popularity
The popularity of fixed navigation bars is quite commendable. Every other site is using these to increase usability. This makes it even more demanding. Not only this, it adds a great effect to the website.


Despite of its advantages, many critics argue that these sticky navigation bars can be superfluous addition to a perfectly usable website at times. In some cases, a website already has a smooth flow, and as such the fixed navigation bar can often seem like a waste of space.

Though it is flashy, it can also be unnecessarily apparent meaning it keeps popping up even when it is not required.Some people might see it as interesting, while other might find it irritating.

Also, at times, the bars seem to take up space unnecessarily. Although, the problem can be addressed by shrinking the bar; once the user has scrolled past its initial appearance.

What’s more?

Apart from simple space constraints, there are other practical concerns for developers too. For instance, fixed navigation bars are usually difficult to transform into mobile format. Also, it leads to a complicated design that can increase page load times.

Final Word

All in all, there’s not much to complain about fixed navigation bars. The concerns are subjective, but when talk about user experience, subjective concerns are certainly justified. As such, it’s the duty of developer to determine what the targeted audience desires from the website and act accordingly.