Is it best practices to display/not display a dropdown menu for the Home button in menu navigation?


(If this isn't just an abstract idea and you have an actual situation to deal with at the moment, maybe you should narrow the question down a bit with that.)

Generally speaking the "home" concept only has a single function that reasonably goes along with it. I don't think I've ever seen a home menu item with sub-items, but any rule in UI design tends to have an implied "unless there's a good reason to do otherwise" on the end of it.

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  • Thank you both for your responses. I am looking for better ways to organize menus. I have noticed when Home is listed in the menubar that none of the key areas of the Home page are represented in subnavigation under the Home menu link. However, my searches have not resulted in this rule explicitly stated on any web page. – Rob Cole Jul 19 '11 at 21:38
  • I agree with Su' and Nick. The only counter-example I've seen is LinkedIn which has "LinkedIn home" and "advertise on LinkedIn" when you hover over the home link. – paulmorriss Jul 20 '11 at 8:19

It's not a common convention to display a drop down menu under a Home link, so it's probably better to avoid it. Navigation is best presented as a distinct and obvious list of links, not a hidden area that only a small portion of your audience may discover.

Some would go further and argue that no 'Home button' is needed at all; it is a common convention to link your logo to your homepage, so I'd suggest that you follow that instead and present any drop down menus under clear headers in an obvious navigation area, like eBay, Amazon, Apple, and most of the sites listed in Alexa's top 500 do.

When trying to determine best practices, I always start with the 'best' sites and see how they've solved basic user experience problems. They'll have invested heavily in discovering what works.

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  • 2
    You may be surprised by how many people are unaware that clicking on logo will usually take you to the home page -- they intentionally looking for the "home" button/link or using "back" to navigate to homepage (same as typing website address in google and then clicking on first link to go to that website -- instead of typing address in address bar)... I absolutely agree that "it is a common convention", but the aforementioned "nuance/reality fact" still should be taken into consideration -- the Internet is full of people with different experience. – LazyOne Jul 19 '11 at 22:05
  • I suspect the companies I mentioned would be more inclined to use a "Home" link in written text if the number of people who were unable to return to the homepage using the logo or back button was significant. – Nick Jul 19 '11 at 22:50

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