Homepages that sell:
Extract 1 - Extract 2 - Extract 3 - Extract 4 - Extract 5

Presentation of the study - Contents of the study

Homepages that sell - 100 pages PDF format - Download Report (from DigiBuy)

(Extract from Part 2: The site's navigation center - Left-hand menus - How frequently are left-hand menus used?)

How frequently are left-hand menus used?

63% of the sites we studied have a menu on the left-hand side of their homepage.

Interestingly, we found that 59% the sites of groups 1, 2 and 3 have left-hand menus on their homepages, but that this figure rises to 79% for the sites in group 4.

For 75% of these sites, this is the main menu, whereas for the other 25%, it is only a secondary menu.

Finally, on 14% of these sites, this menu is a mirror image of the top menu bar, and contains the same main categories.

The 100 sites we studied contain 8 main categories, on average.

The average number of sub-categories displayed in the left-hand menus is 33. However, this figure should be taken in context since, to give just one example, one of the sites displayed as many as 84 sub-categories in its left-hand menu!

The reason why such a large number of secondary categories can be displayed in a left-hand menu is, of course, that there is much more space available in this area.

Naturally, if there are more than 10 sub-categories, it is preferable to put them in alphabetical order.


We found that 50% of the sites in group 1 list their sub-categories in alphabetical order; this falls to 36%, on average, in the three other groups.

On most sites the left-hand column goes down to the bottom of the page, even if the categories and sub-categories do not totally fill up the area available. When this is the case, other items such as a search engine, quick catalog orders or special offers, are usually added.

We found that the surface area of the part of the left-hand column used for navigation links is 168 x 435 pixels, on average.

Moreover, it was interesting to note that the average width of the left-hand columns is 180 pixels on the sites in group 1, but only 157 pixels on the sites in groups 3 and 4.

Finally, although the average length of the left-hand menus is 435 pixels, they are only 387 pixels long on the sites in group 1.