Should You Still Use Sidebars In Web Design?

sidebars in web design
July 13, 2017

What do you think about sidebars being included in modern web designs? What kinds of websites do you think best benefit from sidebars? Are sidebars still necessary in the first place? Well, some of these are tough questions, we know, because there are so many points of views out there. Let’s find out more about sidebars in web design so that you can better decide whether you should still use them in your own websites.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Sidebars in Web Design

Advantages

  • Stellar place for featuring short bios, social profiles, and more
  • Encourage increase email sign-ups
  • Great for running ads and promotion of related products
  • Helps keep an organized website design

Disadvantages

  • Unnecessary for a portfolio website
  • Not compatible with mobile devices
  • May end up displaying cluttered information
  • May create a visually unappealing layout

Are Sidebars Still Relevant in Today’s Time?

Sidebars would have been considered a must-have element on every website, say a decade ago. But today, you need to justify your choice to use a sidebar. If you do not have a good reason to have a sidebar, it would not be wise to add one just because everyone is doing it. Things change, and design trends and practices change too.

With that said, there is definitely nothing wrong with adding a sidebar – it still has value and can be used. If you are working on a desktop design and you have a lot of related features that can be fitted into a sidebar, you may consider expanding the layout. Just make sure your targeted audience’s monitors are wide enough and the sidebar contents add value to your visitors’ experience. If not, you should not hesitate to remove it entirely.

Go easy on yourself as design is always related features. You should not let one choice become a hard and fast rule for your work. However, it does seem like we are moving into a mobile-oriented world, so now the question is whether you should use it at all.

Should I Use Sidebars? Yes or No?

If you are designing single-page applications or webapps, you wouldn’t want to use sidebars because they do not go hand in hand. In addition, a majority of designers feel sidebars are useless because there is less room to keep expanding webpages as desktop resolutions grow wider, page load times are affected, and that sidebars are dropping beneath the content due to more users browsing the web through their mobile devices. What’s more, most business sites actually work better without a sidebar. This applies to businesses that do not need ads or a place to feature extra buttons and links.

But Wait…

If alternative revenue streams become available for you and you have valuable content to place into your site’s sidebar, then by all means, use a sidebar in your web design. Even if you are designing a small blog that runs minimal ads, sidebars can still work with a single-column layout. But don’t go crazy over sidebars just yet because it is generally better to keep things simple; a simpler website is easier to browse and use, which improves the user experience.

Bottom Line

All in all, it comes down to what you actually keep in your site’s sidebar and the value of that content. It is not fair to drop the idea of using sidebars entirely just to appease mobile users. You need to strike a balance. Let’s say your website benefits from having a sidebar. You can then move or hide it for mobile users and keep it for desktop users.