When starting your website project, one of the major discussions and decisions have to be made is the overall look and feel of website – website design. However, website design is not only about the color schemes used, and doing a CSS style sheet with the latest coding practices. It is essential to decide where and when to present the logo and navigation bar to visitors and provide them easy viewing and navigation experience, yet to tell where they are by placing your brand – your logo and perhaps a slogan.
Placing the branding and information at the bottom or at last is most seen in advertisements and TV commercials. However, when watching TV, we actually do not have choice what we will see while the advertisement plays. We cannot decide whether to pause or which part to skip in an advertisement.
However, this is very different with websites. If you have a very good content, you could retain visitors to spend time at your website, in some cases even for hours. While navigating, if you place the navigation and branding only at the bottom of the site, visitor will have to go through your content to navigate to another page, even if they do not want to read or accidentally came across a page. If you present the navigation menu and branding at the bottom of your website, you should be aware of the risk visitors never really to remember anything at all other than the content they saw. Not only that, no one wants to come to a website and have to scroll to the bottom of the page only to find out where other content or what type of content can be found.
Placing the navigation bar and the logo at the top of the page, most probably started as convention. When World Wide Web was just starting out, people were used to reading traditional newspapers and magazines. At layout design, you always place the logo and title at the top of the page. However this could be different in advertisements or TV commercials.
Secondly, again back in time, this convention started as a result of slow internet connections, when images and content took lot time to load. As website owner you would like to present the user with information ‘Where am I?’ as soon as possible and the navigation menu, without having to wait for the rest of the page to load.
From usability stand point, it would be painful for user to scroll to the bottom of the website, every single time wanted to navigate to another page.
If you would like to have a navigation and logo presented at the bottom of the page, solution could be to present fixed navigation at the bottom of the browser no matter of the position of page or page length. However, this could lead to increased bounce rate as visitors would jump from one page to another.
Another argument why logo and navigation menu should stay at the top of the page is that visitors eyes in most cultures – left to right reading – generally will start at the top left of the page and then move across and through the page in a clockwise way. If your site is presented to this type of audience, placing the navigation menu and branding the bottom, would mean your visitors will get or see this content at last.
Additional some important tips to make decision on your website design, position of the navigation menu, branding and presentment of social network profiles:
The discussion for placing the navigation menu and logo and their position could be done for hours. However, decision on how to place the navigation menu and branding is up to you. You are the only person who would know visitor types and what would be convenient for them.