What do you consider to be the best examples of website navigation and why? I'm trying to design a secondary navigation menu and I need a little inspiration, but I'm also interested just in general about learning best practices for navigation and information display. What are some of the more unique solutions you've seen? Links and variety are definitely encouraged in your answers.

+2  A: 

It's specifically a documentation tool, but I really like Visual jQuery, though it's certainly not ideal for a "typical" site.

Great site! Thanks.
Gordon Bell
+1  A: 

Avoid dropdown-menus. For some reason, they just don't feel right on the web.

I quite like the context-sensitive navigation (and keyboard shortcuts) that RTM uses.

I think drop down menus on the web are fine _if_ you make them behave like controls in native applications tend to. I think the big mistake is people go a little overboard with what they _can_ do, and forget about what they _should_ do.
It's also important to make sure drop downs are accessible, especially without JavaScript, which is something I think a lot of implementations forget or ignore.
That's interesting, for some reason i don't like DDLs much either, i don't like having to click a button to see all the options. I suppose it all depends on your real estate.

I like WSJ and GMail.

Paul Nathan
+2  A: 

This is totally my personal opinion, but anything that you have to mouse over something else to click on is a huge pain. I would avoid that.

Robert Elwell
+1  A: 

People are already used to some "standard" navigation, so I think that trying to go overboard to be "unique" might not be the best idea in many cases.

Of course it depends on what kind of site are you working on, and especially on how large this site is.

I think that sidebar boxes and horizontal tabs/menus are a great way to organize your navigation.

Breadcrumbs, contrary to the new trends, is still a very usefull option.

A search box is always a must if the site is large.

Tags, and tag clouds could be usefull on community driven sites.

Don't forget a sitemap.

Maybe some more contextual menus, but it might not be very intuitive on a website.

I don't think there's much else to invent in navigation field.

Totally agree on most of your points. I'm not against standard navigation. In fact, in most cases I think I would prefer it, but I also like to see new techniques. Most of them probably won't ever become a standard, but they are interesting nonetheless.
+2  A: 

A twist on a tabbed breadcrumb navigation from INVIVIA

That's quite an interesting example...I don't think I've ever seen that before.