My rationale for putting navigation controls on the right side of the
1. In English, text flows from left to right, top to bottom. Placing a
navigation element to the left of the text means that the user has to
scan the navigation element every time she starts a new line. Putting
the navigation element to the right of the text provides an unambiguous
end-of-line cue for the text.
2. On the web users prefer to scan text. Cut-outs ( I think that's
what they're called -- short, pithy summaries or comments to one side of
the main body of text ) facilitate the scanning process and putting
cut-outs to the left of the main text makes sense based on the
observation above. Completing the circular logic, putting the
navigation to the right of the main text balances the layout.
3. Most users are right-handed. They're used to devices with controls
on the right. Putting navigation controls on the right side of web
pages leverages this custom. That's the side where they have their mouse.
4. In Windows, the vertical scroll bar is on the right side of the
window. Putting navigation controls on the right side as well saves the
user from having to cross over the page when moving between inter- and
intra- page navigation.
On Mon, 9 Jun 1997, Damon Clark wrote:
> Dear All
> Looking through the debate about the 'Design disaster?' (concerning frames
> and repeating menus), I noted that a few people commented that it was
> sensible to put the menu running down the right-side of the browser. I
> assume this was because we read left to right (here), and so there isn't
> any point in giving the user too much visual clutter as they sweep back for
> each line.
> I agree(d) with that.
> Am I right?
> Maybe it is an issue of interaction design, as opposed to graphic design.
> Since we do read left to right, does it make more sense for users to click
> on a left-hand menu and see the result of their action (the updated frame)
> appear on the right? Users get more of an idea of cause and effect, and are
> more comfortable with the interaction of the site.
> I dunno... does anyone else?
> Do people think left to right...?
> Damon Clark
> Damon Clark
> - voice and fax: 0181 675 8960
> - mobile: 0956 504598
> - http://www.daclark.demon.co.uk
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