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The aggregate data for Down-to-Child links are only partially useful because they do not take into account the two main types of pages that contain Down-to-Child links on an e-commerce site: Product Category Pages and Product List Pages. These types of pages show distinct layout patterns related to their particular function. The function of Product Category Pages is to help users find the type of product they are looking for. The function of a Product List Pages is to help the user make an individual product selection.

Product Category Pages

Product Category pages displayed one of two distinct page layout approaches:

  • Navigation-Centric: Where Down-to-Child links were listed in the main content area of the page.
  • Promotion-Centric: Where Down-to-Child links were listed on the left, right, or top portion of the page, reserving the main content area to promote featured products.

The example below shows a navigation-centric approach where the page layout is tightly focused presenting Down the Child links.


The next example shows the promotion-centric approach. Down-to-Child links are presented on the left side of the page; the main content area of the page is devoted to promoting Dresses and "Great White Shirts."


A slight majority of Product Category pages used the promotion-centric approach (57%) over the navigation-centric approach (43%). The promotion-centric approach likely represents a greater emphasis on product merchandising in the site’s design process.

Product List Pages

The basic layout of Product List pages was extremely similar across sites: all located Down-to-Child links in the Main Content area of the page—often including thumbnail photographs of products, as shown below, to help users make a product selection.


In some cases, Product List pages provided functionality that allowed users to manipulate the display of Down-to-Child links on the page. This functionality included the ability to filter the links to view a subset (such as only those items from a certain manufacturer), sort the links according to various criteria (such as price or popularity), and turn on/off product photographs.


©Heidi P. Adkisson. 2005. All rights reserved.