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Mega-Site Navigation

A responsive and easy to customize navigation for mega-sites, enriched by subtle CSS animations and support for devices with javascript disabled.

Mega-Site Navigation
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We've already shared some navigation solutions here on CodyHouse. They can suit small to middle websites, where navigation is not that challenging. This time we wanted to work on something more complex: a mega-menu!

About the challenges: starting from mobile, I didn't want the "accordion" effect to reveal the sub-items (like we did with the Secondary Expandable Navigation). So I went for a slide-in approach. Also, since the downside with mega-menu is that main categories are generally not clickable, I introduced a "see all" button (if you check the demo, you immediately get what I mean).

On bigger devices, I tried to avoid the never ending nested approach, when you move from one column to the other while surfing sub items. Showing the secondary navigation options right away looks like a better UX solution.

The icons included in the source file have been created by the talented Dario Ferrando and can be download for free on Freebiesbug.com.

👋 A new version of this component is available. Download now →.

Creating the structure

The HTML structure of a complex navigation is generally composed by nested unordered lists. This one makes no exception. We created 4 main sections: <header>, <main>, <nav> and .cd-search <div>. You may be wondering why the navigation is not wrapped into the <header> element: we do move it inside for bigger devices (viewport width >=1170px) using jQuery. On smaller devices it was way easier to handle the navigation as a separate element.

<header class="cd-main-header">
   <a class="cd-logo" href="#0"><img src="img/cd-logo.svg" alt="Logo"></a>

   <ul class="cd-header-buttons">
      <li><a class="cd-search-trigger" href="#cd-search">Search<span></span></a></li>
      <li><a class="cd-nav-trigger" href="#cd-primary-nav">Menu<span></span></a></li>
   </ul> <!-- cd-header-buttons -->

<main class="cd-main-content">
   <!-- your content here -->
   <div class="cd-overlay"></div>

<nav class="cd-nav">
   <ul id="cd-primary-nav" class="cd-primary-nav is-fixed">
      <li class="has-children">
         <a href="#0">Clothing</a>

         <ul class="cd-secondary-nav is-hidden">
            <li class="go-back"><a href="#0">Menu</a></li>
            <li class="see-all"><a href="#0">All Clothing</a></li>
            <li class="has-children">
               <a href="#0">Accessories</a>
               <ul class="is-hidden">
                  <li class="go-back"><a href="#0">Clothing</a></li>
                  <li class="see-all"><a href="#0">All Accessories</a></li>
                  <li class="has-children">
                     <a href="#0">Beanies</a>

                     <ul class="is-hidden">
                        <li class="go-back"><a href="#0">Accessories</a></li>
                        <li class="see-all"><a href="#0">All Benies</a></li>
                        <li><a href="#0">Caps</a></li>
                        <li><a href="#0">Gifts</a></li>
                        <li><a href="#0">Scarves</a></li>
                  <li><!-- ... --></li>

            <li><!-- ... --></li>
            <li><!-- ... --></li>
            <li><!-- ... --></li>

      <li class="has-children">
         <!-- ... -->

      <li class="has-children">
         <!-- ... -->

      <li><a href="#0">Standard</a></li>
   </ul> <!-- primary-nav -->
</nav> <!-- cd-nav -->

<div id="cd-search" class="cd-search">
      <input type="search" placeholder="Search...">

Adding style

The CSS is pretty simple, although the amount of code required for this nugget is higher compared to our average resource. You can download the source file and check how we achieved some nice animations from there.

One important thing: I created 2 classes that can be used to change a bit the navigation behaviour. Note that both classes must be applied to the <body> element:

  • nav-is-fixed - if you want a fixed navigation
  • nav-on-left - if you want the navigation on the left side on mobile devices

I don't know if you folks use pre-processors for CSS or not (We use SASS for all our resources). If you don't, I'd really encourage you to give it a try. As an incentive, check how easy it would be to change some of the navigation settings with SASS (yep, you can set variables!):

// colors

$color-1: #2e3233; // grey dark
$color-2: #69aa6f; // green
$color-3: #e2e3df; // grey light 
$color-4: #ffffff; // white

// fonts 

$primary-font: sans-serif;

// header size

$header-height-S: 50px;
$header-height-L: 80px;

// Navigation size

$nav-width-S: 260px;

// Search size

$search-height-S: 50px;
$search-height-L: 120px;

// z-index

$below-content: 1;
$content: 2;
$above-content: 3;

If that sounds scary, this guide by WebDesignerDepot could be a good starting point.

Events handling

We didn’t do a lot in jQuery, apart from adding classes according to specific events. The only important thing to note is that in the starting HTML structure the navigation is outside the <header>. Since we created this resource starting from mobile, we wanted the navigation to be on the side, hidden by default, and it was easier for us to have it outside the header.
On desktop devices (viewport width more than 1170px), we use jQuery to move the navigation inside the header.

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