Mitsubishi UFJ : Doubling up

Duplication of primary navigation serves no useful service.

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The Site

Mitsubishi UFJ (MUFG), a Japan-based financial services group, runs two sets of the same primary navigation options. The MUFG group site features a standard horizontal primary navigation bar carrying five items on the English-language version of the site and six on the Japanese (careers is the extra one). The site also has a universal left-hand panel that except on the home page displays the same primary section headings as the horizontal bar, above a News Alert link and links to Major Group Company Websites. On the home page a stock price chart replaces the primary menu. Clicking a section heading on the horizontal primary menu opens the section's landing page, where the menu of sub-sections appears below the corresponding section heading in the left-hand menu. Clicking a section heading in the left menu has the same effect. When third-level headings are shown in the left-hand panel, by clicking on a secondary item, the links below the sections menu can be pushed off the visible screen.

The Takeaway

If there is a usability benefit to be gained from replicating the full primary menu set in horizontal and vertical formats it is not evident in MUFG’s configuration. When users are browsing the left-hand menu it may offer a marginal convenience to have the other section headings in the same block, but it could equally be a distraction. Users are in any case well primed by navigation conventions to look up for main sections and to the side for in-section menus. The potential downside seems more tangible – the useful universal quick links to News Alerts and the group company sites can be pushed below the scroll when menus are extended, because of the inclusion of all primary headings. Site editors are also done no favours as the ‘double parking’ takes up valuable space.
First published 11 October, 2012
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