Flyout Navigation is any page menu that visually generates submenus, objects, or links when website users hover their mouse over them.
Flyout Navigation differs from regular dropdown menus, which involve clicking on an option in the menu. This type of navigation can be displayed when clicking on a menu causes ‘fly outs’ horizontally.
Why are Menus Important?
Menus play an essential role in user experience. This is the first thing users look for when exploring a website. A well-designed and simplified menu should make navigation fun and easy.
Therefore, poor flyout navigation implementation can annoy users. For instance, over-the-top fade in and out effects can get in the way of users trying to quickly decide what they want and reaching it.
Pros of Flyout Menus
Before flyout menus were configured, vertical navigation fields could only be displayed by expanding menu items horizontally or vertically. Therefore, navigation fields with many menu items could require substantial screen space to reveal all menu items.
Eventually, vertical field menu items were configured to display in flyout mode. In other words, when selecting menu items, users would see the items displayed to the right of the menu from which they were selected. In addition, submenus can be set to fly out from their main menu items.
Facilitating menu items to be displayed in flyout mode can help designers improve the use of screen space and enhance the web look and feel for, say, a form.
When Shouldn’t You Use a Flyout Menu?
Some users become irritated and confused when they open menus and trigger flyouts bursting into view, whether they want them or not. As a result, they prefer menus to stay put until clicked on.
Some designers believe flyouts force users to waste time moving their mouse on the page to eliminate the menu obscuring what they actually wanted to see. As such, they choose menus that remain until told otherwise. For many, moving a mouse across a screen is not an action, while clicking is.
According to Jeffrey Zeldman, web design pioneer once named King of Web Standards by BusinessWeek says that flyout menus “almost always create an inferior user experience versus drilling down through clearly labeled, intelligently organized categories.” The benefit of flyouts is to get to the goal quicker. However, ultimately the strength of UX determines a site’s success meaning conversions and ROI.