Navigation Tabs

Problem summary

Content needs to be separated into sections and accessed using a flat navigation structure that gives a clear indication of current location.


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  • A horizontal bar contains the different sections or categories of your website.
  • Each section or category is represented by a tab that most commonly resembles a button. This is why the whole button should be clickable, and not just the text that labels the section.
  • Optionally, a bar below the top bar can contain subsections of the currently selected item in the top bar
  • The navigation tab is persistent across all pages that the tabs link to.
  • The same structure (order) of the navigation tabs should be maintained from page to page, so that the user can relate the navigation of the different pages to each other.
  • The selected tab should be highlighted to indicate current location.
  • If subsections are used (a second horizontal bar below the top bar) there should be a clear visual connection between the currently selected top tab and the bar below showing subsections.


The Navigation tabs pattern is an extension of the desktop metaphor in which physical objects are represented as GUI elements. Navigation tabs are derived from the idea of folders in a file-cabinet and are thus familiar to the end user

Navigation tabs provide a clear visual indication of what content can be found on a website and places the current location in context by highlighting it.


Do you need to use this pattern in your project?

This  and others patterns are available and ready to use in this massive Wireframe Bundle. Suitable for a wide variety of projects: Website and landing pages, Ecommerce, Dashboard, Flowchart and iOS.

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