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Heather Bauer: Are Mega Menus Really Heroic?

Saturday, August 1, 2015 - 11:00am to 11:45am

Design 4 Drupal (D4D)

Microsoft NERD Center
One Memorial Drive, Cambridge MA

Event Type: 

If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, did it make a sound? What if you have a feature that your user can’t find? Does it really exist?

Hero menus (more formally known as mega menus) have become increasingly popular for large sites with many sections and pieces of information to put all of the options in front of the user at once. E-commerce sites such as, and all utilize mega menus to display more context and additional levels of navigation. The question becomes whether these mega menus are going to become the best choice for all websites or whether there is still place for the standard drop down, fly out, and accordion menus. Jakob Nielsen may have blessed the mega menu, but is it really the most usable of the options in your situation?

During this session I will cover:

  • The differences between mega menus and other navigational menu structures
  • When is the best time to use each type of navigational menu structures?
  • How do you determine your navigational needs?
  • What implications are there when considering the mobile first mindset
  • Does your navigational structure introduce a paradox of choice?

Heather Bauer

Heather Bauer is the UX Product Specialist for BioRAFT, the provider of integrated laboratory safety and research management software solutions. Heather completed her Masters of Science in Human Factors and Information Design from Bentley University in December 2014. During her studies at Bentley, Heather performed user research for one of the largest Pharma companies in the United States, a small educational startup, and Sapient, a marketing and consulting firm. She also acted as co-organizer for the Boston Service Jam 2014, a 48 hour event promoting service design. Heather was an Expert in Residence at General Assembly for their course, User Experience Design (UXD). User Experience Design is a twelve-week course, taking students with varied experiences from zero to prototype in the UX design process. Working for BioRAFT has allowed Heather to deliver real-world UX experiences and artifacts to her students. Her specialties are usability studies and interface design.

Heather has presented about User Research When You Can't Reach Your Users at D4D Boston 2014, NERD Summit 2014, and Drupal Nights (