Is it just a matter of habit?
In the past we became so accustomed to vertical menus that the question is now often asked: "Why did the use of the vertical menu all but disappear?" At Hello.website we made a bold choice by not supporting the vertical menu. There are lots of arguments in favor of our choice, so, let's see a couple.
This is not how we learned to read
Reading from left to right should be considered a natural flow in regards of websites too. When we read, we scan the content from left to right. Whereas content aligned vertically (one below another) breaks and impedes this flow. It is much more likely that the eyes of the visitor will scan the horizontally aligned navigational menu.
It breaks the clear overview of the content
Without a clear visual structure, a website is confusing and misleading. There is a reason why we have to analyze and properly structure the content that delivers our message. A logically built content structure improves readability and clarity, while making the information usable and comprehensible.
Takes up too much useful space
Above all else, visitors of a website are interested in getting the information promised via the search results, excerpts or other referrals. If vertical spaces are occupied by irrelevant content information, then confusion and frustration results instead of the finding relevant information. Should the visitor continue to search for what he/she is looking for by clicking on other pages, the vertical menu is constantly there. The bottom line is the visit will not end with a positive resolution.
Drop down submenus are more usable than flyout submenus
Fly outs show up with vertical menus. Drop downs with horizontal menus. In most cases those are highlighted with a small sign, usually an arrow. With vertical menus, the arrow pointing to left can also be misleading. They are often used as call for action elements on buttons, outer links or pagination. Visitors are naturally looking for the navigation on the top of the page. Thus, drop down submenus appear more natural and are more usable.
From positive feedback, we can clearly make the case that using horizontal menus are reasonable and correct. Our designer professionals made the right choice by using horizontal menus. We are positive that all websites under Hello.website's hood will greatly enhance the visitor’s experience.