Thursday, November 1, 2007

Target.com's Web 2.0 Offering: "Menu Pages"

Target.com is using something interesting in the main navigation area. The second line of navigation is a menu of important areas they want to spotlight. They buttons are big with big font size, but what makes these menu items different is what happen when you mouse over them. Up pops a layer, which is typical. What is out of the ordinary is the content that appears. They look like mini-web pages. They encapsulate the most important business goals of the subsequent web pages in these small layers before having to go to them.

By nature, these "Menu Pages" solve Barry Schwartz's paradox of choice bugaboo (watch Barry here). There isn't a full web page to fill up with text, graphics, photos, banners, animation, video, etc. They force you to be cogent. You can easily argue that these Menu Pages get people to what they want better than the actual webpages dedicated to these areas.

Compare the Menu Page for Target gift cards against the dedicated web page to gift cards. Gone from the Menu Page is all of the marketing text and graphics of headless businessmen holding target briefcases. No smiling, fit model holding up gift cards or bullseye graphics bubbling all over the place. The Menu Page gives me three buttons with explicit labels.


Menu Pages can't replace web pages and aren't good for all types of content. Google can't index them and serve them up in their result pages. Complex data visualizations won't work here. They are a powerful tool to be utilized in addition to them though.

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