Tools That Help – Collapsible Headers

Header Tools

Web developers are popularizing the use of collapsing headers in their web design. Collapsible headers permit visitors to select a page link from the header which opens up to a sub-category of topics. The design capability is a solution to a number of constraints found in traditional headers. Primarily, the collapsible headers are used to create a more user-friendly method of directing visitors to the exact information for which they are they are searching. Visitors have little patience in sifting through pages of content to locate the information that brought them to the site to begin with.

Collapsible headers provide a clean, understandable snapshot that directs people to the information they wish to access quickly. The single biggest reason people leave a site quickly is because the information they are looking for is not easily found. A collapsible header helps resolve this by allowing the information to be easily crossed-referenced and pinpointed without hassle.

Mashable is a great case study in the use of collapsible headers. As its product is information, the site is challenged to offer a myriad amount of content in a user-friendly format. Mashable’s header directs visitors to news categories such as “Social media”, “Tech” and “Business” and a number of categories with each link opening to sub-categories. It’s fast and clean and the navigational flow is fluid. The header design also serves as a user-friendly site map where visitors can learn where else to go on the site to get specific information under sub-categories.

Facebook and Google+ are both using collapsible headers in an effort to simplify navigation and catalog information. While the collapsible headers do offer ease of use and more easily found information, there is a downside. Most sites use their headers to help brand the site, services or products being offered. The collapsible header will conceal logos and other branded information while the header is being accessed. However, for improved navigation and an orderly method for presenting site information, collapsible headers are a viable information management tool.

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