Toyota Motor : Thinking app

Preview menus take on a new look.

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The feature

Toyota Motor, Japan-based carmaker, has redesigned its primary navigation to present a more app-like menu preview. Toyota’s corporate site has a conventionally located primary navigation bar that divides off two sections (News and Investors). The other five buttons (Showroom, Innovation, Events, Sustainability, Company) are strung together, with each heading tagged with a graphic dot-cube suffix. On click of these buttons, a page-wide menu panel is triggered that overlays the current page, which is greyed out. The panel has a short summary of the topic sat above a set of large illustrated buttons representing the sub-sections. These are arranged five to a row and launch the corresponding sub-section landing page on click. The top-level section menu can be retrieved by re-clicking the topic in the primary navigation bar. The same manoeuvre allows other section menus that sport the suffix to be previewed without leaving the current page; the facility does not extend to News and Investors.

The takeaway

Beyond bringing a more visual dimension to its primary navigation previews, Toyota’s dashboard redesign of the display shows it has joined the band of companies looking to come to terms with the growing use of mobile and tablet devices. Where some experiment with page structure or try to simulate ‘swipe’ browsing, the carmaker has settled on the idea of equating its sub-section topics to apps and representing them as such in a lay-over panel that echoes an experience now familiar to many. Like many a good idea, it sounds simple once you’ve thought of it but finding the appropriate deployment is also part of the secret, and Toyota has identified a good application. Here the app interface fits naturally with a useful preview device – though the press and investor relations teams appear to be not yet convinced.
First published 08 November, 2012
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