Problem summary

Users need a mechanism that will enable them to quickly access specific sections of a site or application bypassing the navigational structure.

Example

Usage

  • Use to shortcut an otherwise hierarchical structure of a website.
  • Use when there are specific pages or functions that are more frequently used than others parts of the website. Use the shortcut box to show these choices in order to shorten the path for the users.
  • Use when you want shortcuts to pages that are possibly on different hierarchical levels of the page.
  • Can also be used as navigation when short on space, although it is not advised.

Solution

Add the same footer on all pages of a website – with the same layout in the footer on all pages. Typically, these things are included in fat footer designs:

  • About us link: Link to your “about us” section, which then includes basic information about your company.
  • Terms of service: If you provide a service or a product, placing a link to it in the footer is a standard location, why users anticipate it being there.
  • Privacy policy: As with the terms of service, users expect to always be able to find privacy policies in the footer of a website.
  • Site map: Provide quick links the most important pages of your website.
  • Contact us link: Make sure your users have a way to get in hold of you. If you have a “Contact us” page, users expect to find a link to it in the footer. This is also a critical point in building the trustworthiness of your site as it is displaying your physical address.
  • Address and phone number: Show that you are real. If you have a physical business, offer phone support, or have a reason for people to mail you things, putting that information in the footer is an anticipated and appropriate location.
  • Social links: Link to any social presences you might have on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and the likes.

Rationale

The hierarchical structure of a website can at times impede the path to specific page or function of a website. By adding a shortcut to the most frequently used pages and functions, the path can be shortened: the number of clicks can be lessened and the confusion decreased.

Discussion

A fat footer isn’t right for every site or for every company. Consider asking these when creating a footer:

  • What does my user expect to see here?
  • What is the next logical step in the user journey?
  • What questions are my secondary or tertiary users still asking at the bottom of the site?
  • How can I continue the experience beyond the content on this page?1
Sources

1 Fat footer round-up at UX Booth.

This article has been commented 7 times.

More examples of the Fat Footer pattern See all 84 example screenshots

7 comments

  • 25076e2b67a240c91ad2faac32a538bf

    Rob on Mar 20, 2009

    I’ve been calling these “Sitemap Footers” because they often replace the function of the old “sitemap” link. These Fat Footers are also useful for covering ADA requirements.

  • 6ef2341b57e5cd117a55475c275d6165

    MDX on Jul 18, 2009

    These footers do make great sitemaps -as long as the site structure is not too large. Also, CTA like a newsletter signup can make a second appearance in the footer as well.

  • C0cd42487c1001402a53cd2abb08f285

    kungkk on Aug 27, 2009

    yeap, we call it sitemap footer instead of fat footer

  • 425be2d55b2370f866f48d028fa83b45

    Brp Web Design on Oct 26, 2009

    Nobody seems to use sitemaps. I personally love when I see a well structured footer with navigation.

  • D41e28a8f9739bfeecb67f6aade51aba

    David Friend on Jun 10, 2010

    I like these fat footers and I want one. Anyone know where I can get the code? Or perhaps you want to design one for me for a stipend?

  • Fd1bb950d7f661f713ede9529fe67989

    Andy Wight on Jun 18, 2010

    I prefer not to refer to them as a “sitemap footer” as they are a departure from the hierarchical structure of the main navigation and often a subset of what I would normally show in a sitemap.

    There are scenarios on smaller sites where the footer ends up being equivalent to the sitemap but I think there is a difference between exposing select items in the footer and the full breadth that a sitemap shoots for.

  • 49a41210571c390aeaaa87d7424e9075

    David on Jul 14, 2010

    Fully aree with previous comment. Sitemaps and fat footers are just different. Another issue is that for small websites could be almost equal. The definition for fat footers on this page is clear.

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