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SIGIA-L Mail Archives: RE: SIGIA-L: Global nav during a process?

RE: SIGIA-L: Global nav during a process?

From: MMdeaton (
Date: Mon Jul 23 2001 - 15:05:39 EDT

My experience is to leave it and let the user control what they are doing.
This could mean the process has to be designed to be interrupted: saves
already entered, leaves some Go Back to... link visible or so on. I also
think it is critical to let people know how many steps they are doing to
have to go through to complete the process. They may want to leave because
they realize they have not got the time, for example.

Mary Deaton
Deaton Information Design
Web Shui at

News and opinion at:

-----Original Message-----
From: []On Behalf Of
Sent: Monday, July 23, 2001 9:59 AM
Subject: SIGIA-L: Global nav during a process?

Hi all -

Here's a thorny problem I've run across many times and now face yet again.
I'd love to hear ideas, opinions, and data.

The question: Should global navigation (in this case, the top levels of
hierarchical nav) appear on the page when the user is within a process
(anything from email newsletter sign-up to search to checkout)?

On one side:
- Reducing "interruptability." If a user is within a transaction, don't
distract them with global nav that isn't relevant to the task. Let them
explicitly cancel the task to return to the non-process state.
- Real estate. Processes like checkout often require more screen real
estate, which global nav can sometimes hog.

On the other side:
- Escape hatch. On the Web, users leave a process not through canceling,
but by simply going somewhere else. Global nav should always be there so
that users have control.
- Consistency. If the global nav appears and disappears throughout the
experience, it's less reliable and learnable, and potentially disorienting

I'm trying to pose the question in a neutral way so as not to reveal my
bias. :-)


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