Nested Content UX Ideas That Will Boost Your Website’s Usability

Brian Bojan Dordevic
About The Author

Brian Decoded

President at Alpha Efficiency

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Do you know what’s better than good content on a website? Well, it’s good content presented in a way that’s easy to access and navigate. That’s where UX design comes in. Creating a good user experience design is critical to keeping website visitors engaged and coming back for more. And organizing complex ideas in an easily digestible way is one of the most essential tasks user experience designers face. To help you with that, in this article, we’ll explore some nested content UX ideas that can help you boost the usability and visual appeal of your user interface. You’ll learn various benefits of nested content and get a deeper insight into potential problems it can cause for the user experience. Our digital marketing agency will then show you seven nested content UX ideas you can use to create more enjoyable websites for your target audience. So let’s start.

Table of Contents:



Nested content in UX design


What Does Content Nesting Mean in UX Design?

Content nesting in UX design refers to the technique used to organize and categorize information on a website or app. It involves grouping related content items together under parent category pages. For example, on an e-Commerce website, you might have a parent category called “Electronics” with subcategories such as “Phones,” “Laptops,” and “Accessories. This technique can help users navigate a lot of information and quickly make sense of a user interface.

Now, let’s imagine you’re designing a recipe website. You want to create a page that shows the ingredients for a recipe and the steps involved in preparation. If you list out all the ingredients and steps without any organization, it could be difficult for users to understand the exact order of the steps and how they relate to each other. This will cause a poor user experience and make your website much less effective at converting visitors into customers. But with content nesting, you can group the ingredients and separate them from steps, resulting in a clear information hierarchy. There are many nested content UX ideas you can use to achieve this. For example, use bold paragraph headers for the ingredients and indent the steps underneath them. Or you can implement the drop-down menu with “ingredients” and “preparation steps” categories. 

Nested Content UX ideas we’re about to explore in this article will help you make it easy for your visitors to navigate a website with many pages and subpages. You’ll learn various techniques that will allow you to overcome information architecture issues and boost both the desktop and mobile usability of your web design.

There are many benefits of using nested content in UX design

Proven Benefits of Content Nesting UX Designers Need To Know About

Now that we understand what content nesting refers to in UX design, it’s time to explore its benefits for both the user experience and the overall design. 

Reduce cognitive load for users:

Creating a fantastic user experience revolves around making it possible for people to find what they’re looking for easily. And content nesting allows you to establish the relationship between different content pieces and help people better understand your information hierarchy. Content nesting helps you make your user interface less cluttered and reduce cognitive load, as users won’t have to spend as much time processing information and trying to make sense of it. This way, you’ll reduce the risk of losing potential customers due to frustration. For example, a site that sells clothing can group different types of clothing into separate categories (pants, shoes, shirts, etc.) and then break these down into subcategories (casual shirts, dress shirts, etc.). Potential customers won’t need to scroll through tons of irrelevant information. They’ll be able to find the type of clothing that interests them immediately.

Create a more cohesive user experience:

Nested content UX ideas we’ll show you can help you improve your designs’ overall organization and structure. By breaking content into smaller, more manageable chunks, user experience designers can create a more logical and intuitive flow through the user interface. And by organizing user interface components logically, you’ll make it easier for users to follow along with the design – resulting in a more cohesive and unified user experience.

Improve the accessibility of your design:

To make your website enjoyable for everyone, you need to keep people with various types of disabilities in mind when organizing content. For example, users with a visual impairment might benefit from larger paragraph headers and a hierarchical structure that makes it easier to navigate using a screen reader. With nested content UX ideas we’ll show you, and some quality ADA WordPress plugins, you’ll be able to create a website people love exploring.

Nested content can also cause some problems and confuse visitors.

Potential Problems Improper Content Nesting Can Cause

There’s no doubt that you can make your landing pages look more organized by nesting content. It helps users quickly and easily find the information they need. It also helps to create a clear hierarchy of content. However, it’s essential to keep potential problems in mind an web design audit may show after applying various nested content UX ideas :

Users may overlook some content items:

Although content nesting can help users navigate a lot of information, it can also cause the opposite effect. Some users might overlook certain content items, as nested content items can become hidden or buried under layers of subcategories. Let’s get back to our example of an e-Commerce store with a parent category called “Electronics.” Let’s say you’re shopping for laptops. You’d naturally assume that all laptops are located under the subcategory called “Laptops.” But there could also be a special promotion for a specific brand of laptops nested under a different subcategory, such as “Deals” or “Promotions.” That’s why user experience researchers need to plan tests with real users when creating a UX strategy

It can be challenging to craft a fantastic user experience on both desktop and mobile devices: 

Nested content can pose challenges when creating a great user experience on both desktop and mobile devices. Having a piece of content placed inside another piece of content can result in an information hierarchy that is challenging to navigate or view on smaller screens.

One example of how nested content can be problematic is with dropdown menus. These menus often have multiple levels of nested content, with sub-menus that appear when you hover over or click on a main menu item. While drop-down menus usually work well on desktop devices, it can be difficult for mobile users to navigate and select the correct option.

And let’s take images nested inside text boxes as another example. While this can be a visually appealing way to display content, it can be challenging to ensure high levels of text readability on smaller screens. 

It can make your website more difficult to navigate with screen readers and keyboards:

For users who rely on screen readers and keyboards to navigate your website, nested content can make it more challenging to find and interact with specific user interface components. Screen readers typically read content linearly, so these devices might struggle to understand the hierarchy of nested content. They’d have to navigate through multiple layers of nested content to find what they need, which can be frustrating and time-consuming unless you follow website navigation best practices. 

That’s why accessibility is a crucial aspect of navigation design. User experience designers need to consider how their choices impact users who use screen readers and keyboards for exploring the internet. Our website QA checklist might help ensure your website is accessible to everyone.

7 Nested Content UX Ideas That Will Make Your Website More Enjoyable for Users

When done right, nested content can significantly improve your navigation system and the usability of your website. It will help you make your landing pages less cluttered and more effective at converting visitors. 

So let’s explore some nested content UX ideas and best practices for organizing content. Use the following tips to enhance your web page layouts and craft amazing user experiences:

An example of using clear labels for nested content.

Use Clear Labels To Let Visitors Know What To Expect

When you have a lot of information organized in a hierarchical structure, like subcategories or subtopics within a larger category or topic, it’s crucial to use clear labels. Clear labels will help visitors understand what they can expect within a particular section of your website. Without these, users will need to click through many pages to find the specific topic that interests them. 

Clear labels are also important for accessibility. Visitors with visual impairments who use screen readers rely on accurate and descriptive labels to navigate your content items. Unclear labels are likely to confuse such users and lead to frustration. Website accessibility statistics suggest that around 90% of websites are inaccessible to people who rely on assistive technology such as screen readers. It’s crucial to take necessary actions to ensure your website doesn’t become one of these.

Use Expand/Collapse Feature To Simplify the User Interface

The expand/collapse feature is a popular way to simplify the user interface when dealing with nested content. Without this feature, all of the nested content might end up being displayed on the screen, which could quickly become overwhelming and confusing for the user. However, when you provide them with the expand/collapse option, users can hide the nested content and only display the top-level content items. This is one of the most potent nested content UX ideas for crafting a more enjoyable user interface.

An example demonstrating why you shouldn't nest important functions in UX design.

Don’t Nest Important Functions

Before nesting content items, ask yourself if it will negatively affect the operability of your website. Nesting important functions can confuse visitors and make your website difficult to navigate. For example, when designing an eCommerce store for clothing, it’s okay to nest products within categories and subcategories. But once potential customers find the category that interests them, they want to see all the products and be able to add these to the cart as smoothly as possible. In such cases, using tabs to separate t-shirts is not considered the best practice. It will make it harder for people to interact with individual products. It’s better to design a web page layout that shows all of your products that fall within the same category so users can immediately compare them.

For another example, imagine you’re visiting a website to buy a new phone. You find the phone you want to buy and click on the “Add to Cart” button. Instead of being taken directly to your cart, you are redirected to a page asking you to confirm your email address. After you confirm your email address, you are taken to another page where you have to choose the color and storage options for your phone. Finally, after completing all of these steps, you are taken to your cart. This kind of nesting can be frustrating and time-consuming. That store needs to simplify its UX design pattern and improve it’s checkout page design.

Using a breadcrumbs navigation system is another one of the nested content UX ideas we will explore. Breadcrumbs navigation is a type of website navigation that shows users their location within your website’s structure. Essentially, it’s a trail of links that appears at the top of a webpage, usually just below the header. Breadcrumbs significantly help those users who want to know where they are on the website and how they got there.

Breadcrumb navigation is handy for websites with complex information architecture, as it helps users avoid getting lost while navigating multiple levels of nested content. It will improve both the desktop and mobile usability of your website.

Highlighting active elements will help users orientate on your website.

Highlight Active Elements To Provide Context To Users

When you nest content, you want to clarify to the users which elements are currently active and which are not. This will make it much easier for users to navigate and interact with your website.

Let us give you an example. Again, let’s say you’re shopping in an eCommerce store, and you want to filter the products by size. The website may have a dropdown menu that lists the available sizes. When you click on the menu, the list of sizes appears, and the active size is highlighted in some way, such as with a different color, bold text, or a ticked box. This helps you quickly see which size is currently selected and makes it easier to find different sizes if needed.

Now let’s quickly get through some nested content UX ideas for highlighting active elements:

  • Use different colors or typography for active elements: For example, different font colors or styles for the active content items.
  • Use animation or hover effects: When a user hovers over a nested element, it could expand or show additional information to indicate that it’s active.
  • Use icons: You can add buttons and a checkmark icon to indicate selected options in a dropdown menu. And if you want to indicate an expanded or collapsed accordion section, consider using plus and minus icons.
  • Provide feedback: If a user clicks on a tab in a tabbed user interface, the content associated with that tab could fade in our slide down, indicating that it’s the active tab.

Internal search functions can be beneficial when dealing with nested content and deep navigation. These functions allow users to quickly search for and find specific content, regardless of where it’s nested in the hierarchy. Instead of clicking through a bunch of different pages, they’ll be able to type in a keyword or phrase and get results that match their search.

For example, let’s say you’re crafting the perfect user experience for a recipe website. Some visitors might want to find a recipe for chicken soup. When you implement the search function, instead of clicking through all the different recipe categories and subcategories, they’ll be able to type “chicken soup” into the search bar and get a list of all the relevant results. This makes implementing internal search one of the must-consider nested content UX ideas for designers.

Using icons to visually represent different content items is one of the nested content UX ideas to make your website more accessible and visually appealing.

Use Icons to Represent Different Content Items Visually

Using icons to visually represent different content items is one of the nested content UX ideas to make your website more accessible and visually appealing. Imagine looking at a website with a list of items, each with several sub-items. Without icons to visually represent the sub-items, it can be difficult to quickly and easily identify different content items and understand how they relate to each other. But if you use icons, your audience can quickly scan and understand the content.

Here’s a step-by-step guide that will help you implement icons in a user-friendly manner:

  1. First, you need to choose appropriate icons for the content you’re representing. For example, if you have a list of different file types, you might use icons representing each type ( a PDF icon, a Word icon, etc.)
  2. Next, make sure to use these icons consistently throughout your content. Use the same icon for the same type of content every time it appears to avoid confusing users. It can also be helpful to include a legend or key somewhere on your page to explain what each icon represents when using unique icons.
  3. Finally, make sure the icons are visible and distinguishable. Icons should be big enough so visitors can easily see them, and the colors and designs should be distinct enough so people can tell them apart. 

When you’re done implementing icons, we advise you to conduct tests with real users to measure improvements and find potential weak areas.

Final Thoughts on Nested Content UX Ideas and Trends for 2023

Hopefully, this article helped you realize the importance of applying best practices when nesting your content. Our web design agency in Chicago has been using these nested content UX ideas to improve the usability of clients’ websites, and the results have been gratifying so far.

But user experience designers must keep an eye on the evolving trends within the industry. UX design has been evolving towards mobile-first design, personalization, and interactive content for years. We also see voice-based interfaces and AI assistants becoming a massive trend soon. To be able to design bullet-proof web design, it’s crucial to stay in touch with the latest developments within the industry. Feel free to explore our web design blog to get more helpful information and learn about best practices.


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