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ReedBotwright says

Yeah, I think a good rule of thumb (pardon the sexism) is to “promote” the most important child to act as the link for the parent menu item. This should be done consistently across the site then. And may cause confusion in the case where you perform this fix in one menu branch, but some/all of the other menus have valid and unique parent link content.

Visual cues can go a long way to rectify any confusion.

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bobsawey says

Too further elaborate:

On cleanint.com, look at the products menu item on the root page.

click it and see what the products landing page looks like.

the top header is Products, and the secondary-header is the current selection of product.

When the next product rolls out and can be clicked on this level, then same deal: Products is Primary header, secondary-header is productname/graphic/whatever… and then we continue on the page with the copy and specific information for that product.

So you can definitely find a way to adopt this way of doing things to your current project and improve the idea if it needs to be sharpened.

w0rd.

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sergiupopa says
Design for designers Program for coders Usability for a child

I like that, Jonathan!

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ThemeBlvd says

@CreativeStable

I’m in the same boat as you… I work for an ad agency as one of just two web developers. However, there are all of these other people that get the final say on everything that know nothing about web development. This exact issue you’re talking about with the menus comes up ALL the time.

Here is what I do on almost every project that seems to be a happy medium for everyone. I generally link that top level menu item to the first page of the drop down.

So, for example:

  • About Us
    • Company History
    • Our Team
    • Location
    • Process

“About Us” and “Company History” would both link to “Company History”. I realize it’s not the best solution, but it seems to make everyone happy.

Since I do almost all of our sites on Wordpress, this used to be an issue, but the last few sites I have built with Wordpress 3’s wp_nav_menu() function and this is now a breeze as you get to manually build the menus. (opposed to the old way of using wp_list_pages() function )

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VisualSharing says

I use what bobsawey suggested.

Also ThemeForest’s navigation uses this method – Make Mones leads to Sell Your Work. Then I double the subnav in the sidebar of the opened page. I would provide a work for a client to show you how usability friendly this is, if it’s OK with the forum rules.

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rvision_ says

What is the amount of content on each of those pages? Can they be combined into one page with named anchors? Can Location be moved into contact page or similar?

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CreativeStable says
What is the amount of content on each of those pages? Can they be combined into one page with named anchors? Can Location be moved into contact page or similar?

There is usually quite a bit, but that might work in some cases. Creating tabs might work too..

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Parallelus says

I very much agree with this, and it is definitely something that is lacking with these designs.

What kind of content are you adding?
An example would be:
  • About Us
    • Company History
    • Our Team
    • Location
    • Process

Where the client does not supply content for “about us”, but everything else. My solution in the case would probably be to move company history into the parent, but sometimes it is not as clear as that.

I would definitely point the “About Us” at “Company History” or “Our Team” if there was not an “about” page. By that same logic, you could ditch either of those if you were to promote it to “About Us” so you would have 1 less item in the menu but the main link would go somewhere.

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