Two-Action Navigational Model
I’ve been working on a problem where the requirements of the navigation of the page allows the user to traverse a deeply nested hierarchical tree structure without reloading the page with every click ( a traditional drill model) and not just using a lame old school tree structure.
What I’ve done in this sample is created a two-action navigational system where the user can either click the smaller target to ‘drill’ to the lower level of the tree without selecting the nav item OR select a navigational node to display that content on the page.
The idea here is that we allow the user to drill into a parent item and display its children in a segment below. When you drill into a child of a child nav item, the model adds the drilled child to the top section for context then displays the sub-children in the segment below. This continues until a selection is made or terminal nodes are displayed.
A few notes about this design’s strengths and weaknesses:
Using a single column the user can traverse a huge tree structure
Drilling doesnt reload the page
Keeps context for deep selections
Possibly difficult to cognitively process the difference between a drill and select option
If you select a navigation item and then choose to drill into other sections you could potentially loose content of which is selected. This could be solved by possibly moving the selected item from the sub segment to the main segment to keep context
Let me know what you guys think and if this model could solve your navigational issues.