Terra Firma : Doubling-up trouble

Consecutive headings lead from main navigation to the same page.

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The Site

Terra Firma, a UK-based private equity firm, seeds confusion by repeating main section headings in their attendant dropdown menus. Terra Firma’s primary navigation bar features dropdown menus that appear when users hover over seven of the eight headings (Home is the exception). Clicking a heading launches the section landing/home page. Each dropdown contains a repeat of the primary heading as its top link. Clicking this version of the heading also launches the section landing page.

The Takeaway

The configuration of Terra Firma’s primary navigation bar is conventional in many ways, enough certainly to seem intuitive. However, it has one quirk – each section’s dropdown offers identically labelled links to the same landing page – that introduces an element of unpredictability which might disorientate visitors. The repetition is potentially confusing as it suggests a discrete destination, so users may expect to find something different when clicking the in-menu link. This might make some sense if the dropdown menu were revealed with a click of the heading in the primary bar, but thanks to the menus appearing on mouseover the repeated links serve no added purpose. A change of label for the in-menu heading – [section] home, for example – would help diffuse the problem, but there is no obvious justification for breaking with convention to create it in the first place.

First published 28 August, 2012
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