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Matthew Dull <[log in to unmask]>
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Matthew Dull <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 11 Nov 2008 12:08:39 -0500
text/plain (69 lines)

This is often a dilemma - do we keep the user where he/she is in order
to help them do what they intended to do, or give them more options
that could possibly distract them?

In all the best practices followed at the usability company i work
for, we always recommend global navigation remaining on all pages.
The reason for this is if users do choose to abandon a process (which
could be for good reason), they should be able to do so.

For instance, if they are in a Checkout process (a very valuable
process indeed), what if they decide to shop for something else to add
to the Cart?  I can think of few people who would be against more
purchases.  Providing no access to global navigation would force them
to either keep hitting the Back button until they returned to pages
with global nav, or find some other inefficient way of doing so.
Removing global nav would be similar to you approaching a real-world
cash register and having a box suddenly surround you and the cashier,
blocking you from the rest of the store until you paid or forced
yourself out.  (A bit dramatic of an example, but i think it helps to
think of real-world scenarios).

If you feel the need to place some type of warning pop-layer on the
page when they do try to leave the process (because for some reason
you feel it is not obvious to them that they will lose all of their
current work, if indeed they would, than that is up to your

In any case, global navigation should not be distracting.  If there
are animated promos or ads, certainly you would want to reduce the
amount of purposeful 'attention grabbing' you are doing if users are
trying to concentrate on something.  But global navigation as it
should be -- a tool to provide navigation and orientation -- will
ultimately help users accomplish what they want to do when they so

Hope that helps.

-- Matt Dull
Usability Auditor/Consultant
Ann Arbor, MI

On Mon, Nov 10, 2008 at 4:38 PM, Erica Gordon Sorohan
<[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Has anyone had any firsthand experience with, or know of any research conducted on, the effect of including or not including global navigation on process pages? Our marketing department wants to eliminate global navigation on process pages (such as "register" and "subscribe"), arguing that navigation is a  "distraction" that causes users to abandon the process. Other business groups want to retain global navigation on all pages. Thoughts?
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