What to place in the scan columns

Scan columns at the edge of the page are used to organize navigation links or place some advertisements. You can display both, or only the left or right scan column on your website.

Mock-up with scam columns following web conventions

Click on the image to open the interactive mode

What’s the local navigation?

Large sites often use two types of navigation:

  • global navigation with links to the main sections of the site
  • local navigation to display the list of subsections in the current section

Where to place it?
The left scan column is usually used for local navigation. People expect it there.
You can use right navigation columns as long as it is consistent.

What are advertisements?

The right scan column is often used for advertising. But lots of users are banner blind. They ignore areas of the screen that usually contain advertising. If you don’t use the scan columns for advertising make sure the content in the scan columns has nothing in common with anything looking like a banner.

Related links

What are the basic design elements?

Eye-tracking studies have shown that users expect some elements to be in a specific place on the page. Follow the web conventions and users will understand your site quickly.

Make sure your template provides the following areas and make sure they appear on the same place on every page:

  1. Page header
  2. Content area
  3. Scan column (left, right or both)
  4. Page footer
Mock-up following web conventions

Click on the image to open the interactive mode

Related links