Multi-Level Push Menu

An experimental push menu with multi-level functionality that allows endless nesting of navigation elements.
MultiLevelPushMenu

Today we want to share another menu experiment with you. For sure you are familiar with the off-canvas navigation on mobile apps and the implementations for responsive websites like the one by David Bushell. We tried to explore the possibility of creating a nested multi-level menu, something that could be quite useful for menus with lots of content (like navigations of online stores). The result is a “push” menu that can (theoretically) contain infinite nested sub-menus. When opening a sub-level, the whole navigation pushes the content more, allowing a slice of the parent menu to be visible. Optionally, this slice can be visible or not, in which case the sub-menu will simply cover its parent.

Working with nested structures is quite tricky because when we, for example, move the parent then all children will of course move as well. So we are using a couple of tricks that will maintain the right 3D translates for the sub-menus and their children. The main idea is to increment the value for the translate so that we guarantee that the sub-levels are not shown once we push everything a bit more for showing the slices of the parents. This is of course not necessary in the case where the sub-menu is covering the parent menu.

Please note that we are using 3D Transforms which only work in modern browsers. You will find a fallback example for non-supporting browsers in the end of the component.css file where we simply show the first level menu. The same we do for the no JS case.

We are using the following nested structure for the menu:

<!-- mp-menu -->
<nav id="mp-menu" class="mp-menu">
	<div class="mp-level">
		<h2 class="icon icon-world">All Categories</h2>
		<ul>
			<li class="icon icon-arrow-left">
				<a class="icon icon-display" href="#">Devices</a>
				
				<div class="mp-level">
					<h2 class="icon icon-display">Devices</h2>
					<ul>
						<li class="icon icon-arrow-left">
							<a class="icon icon-phone" href="#">Mobile Phones</a>

							<div class="mp-level">
								<h2>Mobile Phones</h2>
								<ul>
									<li><a href="#">Super Smart Phone</a></li>
									<li><a href="#">Thin Magic Mobile</a></li>
									<li><a href="#">Performance Crusher</a></li>
									<li><a href="#">Futuristic Experience</a></li>
								</ul>
							</div>

						</li>
						<li class="icon icon-arrow-left">
							<!-- ... -->
						</li>
						<li class="icon icon-arrow-left">
							<!-- ... -->
						</li>
					</ul>
				</div>
			</li>
			<li><!-- ... --></li>
			<!-- ... -->
		</ul>
	</div>
</nav>
<!-- /mp-menu -->

…where each level is wrapped into a division with the class mp-level.

Normally, we would have used fixed positioning for a menu of this kind but since there is quite an peculiar “problem” with that (transforms will make it behave like an absolute positioned element), we’ll have to use absolute positioning which will leave us with some unwanted behavior of the site (scrolling of menu and dependence of document height). So we’ve used a little trick to avoid the menu being scrollable or to be cut off if the site’s content is too short by using the following page structure:

<div class="container">
	<!-- Push Wrapper -->
	<div class="mp-pusher" id="mp-pusher">

		<!-- mp-menu -->
		<nav id="mp-menu" class="mp-menu">
			<!-- ... -->
		</nav>
		<!-- /mp-menu -->

		<div class="scroller"><!-- this is for emulating position fixed of the nav -->
			<div class="scroller-inner">
				<!-- site content goes here -->
			</div><!-- /scroller-inner -->
		</div><!-- /scroller -->

	</div><!-- /pusher -->
</div><!-- /container -->

Where we set the following styles for the elements:

html, 
body, 
.container,
.scroller {
	height: 100%;
}

.scroller {
	overflow-y: scroll;
}

.scroller,
.scroller-inner {
	position: relative;
}

.container {
	position: relative;
	overflow: hidden;
	background: #34495e;
}

This will allow the content to be scrolled when the menu is closed and it will also make the menu being 100% of the window height. Basically, we are emulating what fixed positioning would do here.

This is how the plugin can be called:

new mlPushMenu( document.getElementById( 'mp-menu' ), document.getElementById( 'trigger' ) );
Or, if the submenus should cover the previous levels: 
new mlPushMenu( document.getElementById( 'mp-menu' ), document.getElementById( 'trigger' ), {
	type : 'cover'
} );

For the demos we are using the beautiful Linicons iconfont by Sergey Shmidt created with the help of the IcoMoon app.

We hope you enjoy this menu and find it useful.

Tagged with:

Mary Lou

ML is a freelance web designer and developer with a passion for interaction design. She studied Cognitive Science and Computational Logic and has a weakness for the smell of freshly ground peppercorns.

http://www.codrops.com

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  1. Well… that does it! I am stunned. I have been working to get that google nexus menu to do just that… now… i have no purpose in doing that… You keep up the good work. Congrats!

  2. Zurb’s Foundation uses a similar trick for their .top-bar component.

    I think perhaps this, combined with off-canvas menus, is the ultimate solution for multi-level navigation on touch devices. But I also think it’s a bit awkward for desktop sites, where users are more used to dropdowns.

    Now, for a client of mine I’ve crafted an ad-hoc solution which combines off-canvas, push navigations ad dropdowns in a project of mine, but it’s a real hell of a job.

    I wish someone would make a serious jQuery plugin that implements this behaviour on touch devices (smartphones and tablets), and then becomes a simple multi-level dropdown on desktop.

    This way, each device could have the best UX for navigation.

  3. This is beautiful. 🙂

    Better if the BACK links are given more context. e.g. Back to All Categories; Back to Magazines

  4. Does not work on Chrome 28.0.1500.95 m add class to no-csstransforms3d . On this issue, the Internet is written that does not work GPU acceleration. But this should appear static left menu that not appears. Static menu appears after the removal of the parameter.mp-menu {left: 0px;}
    Please solve this problem

  5. I am afraid this demo tutorial page is buggy. If menu items are to many, bottoms items cannot be reached. For example, on tablet browser I could not see “woman clothes”