KEEP IT SIMPLE: VERTICAL MENUS FIT BETTER TO PERCEPTION AND COGNITION THAN DYNAMIC MENUS

Eye Tracking research by the University of Basel, Department of Psychology, Center for Cognitive Psychology and Methodology,recently  found that navigation design is best kept simple.  Ware (2008)  puts it nicely when he says users act as cost-efficiently as possible in terms of “cognitive cost”, preferring internal pattern comparisons to eye movements, eye movements to head or hand movements, and so on. In practical terms this means that for vertical menus, users only have to process the number of visible navigation items. For dynamic menus, users have to process the number of visible menu items, open the menu, and process the respective entries.

The Leuthold (2015) study of 120 participants found that vertical menus outperform dynamic menus and are subjectively preferred by users.