With the right jQuery menu plugin your website visitors may get the best and most dynamic navigation available.
Navigation is one of the most important elements in web design. It has to be neat, usable and creative at the same time in order not to drive your visitors away because they cannot find what they are looking for. jQuery is one of the most powerful tools to enhance your navigation and make it stand out and there are many cool scripts to help you do magic in minutes and not hours. Another great way to present navigation options tp important content is to use jQuery sliders. Sliders are very common today and used e.g. on front pages to feature products and important pages and posts. Check this roundup of slider plugins created for jQuery.
This post will roundup some fresh and cool jQuery menu plugins that will make your menus look awesome. Please leave a comment if I missed out some. Also, consider other jQuery features and plugins e.g. jQuery image zoom. We recently updated this post with new jQuery menu plugins and removed broken links.
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and I will earn a commission if you purchase through those links (at no extra cost to you). I recommend that you do your own independent research before purchasing any product or service. This article is not a guideline, a recommendation or endorsement of specific products.
Now to the jQuery menu plugins
If you are a big Mac fan, you will love this CSS dock menu. It comes with two dock position: top and bottom.
With the division into two panels and a large number of backgrounds and items, you have an infinite number of ways to adapt the menu with this plugin.
This Mega Drop Down Menu Complete Set is perfect for creating unique jquery navigation menu by using one of the 10+ jQuery effects and one of the 13 color variants. Based on a custom grid, this menu allows you to organize your content into columns (from 1 up to 12) with a lot of typography examples such as headings, lists, images styling, tables, form elements, etc.
The Metro Flexible Navigation is a simple, clean grid layout looking a lot like the new Windows 8 interface. It can be customized to be laid out horizontally or vertically. It’s scrollable and drag-able at the same time and contains useful sliding controls. Icons can be changed, there is a large collection available.
With this simple jQuery Plugin you can easily create Metro (now simply called Windows 8 UI) style navigation bars. The plugin package comes with the icon pack called iconic created by P.J. Onori, which you can easily set with CSS classes.
Quick & Pro Menu creates a special style of jQuery mega menus which is only seldom seen in Websites but really cool for giving visitors quick access to a lot of information.
This a jQuery plugin that simplifies creating responsive tabs and accordions. You can either use one of the included themes or create your own, by picking the colors yourself.
Superfish is a JQuery plugin especially dedicated to menus. It allows many improvement from what you can achieve with HTML and CSS as such as hover support for IE6, animations, keyboard accessibility and more.
Smooth Expandable Menu is the definitive tool for building minimal vertical expandable menus, which can be easily customized due to its 17 built-in configuration parameters, directly from the html file / script call. The pack includes 3 samples (Serif, San Serif and Tiny), to make easier the integration on any web project.
This is a cool mobile ready mega menu plugin. It is great for featuring e.g. key products with images and text in the navigation area. It is easy to embed videos/images/forms etc. into the mega menu.
Easily customizable, easy to integrate and provides quick access to your site. The code is flexible for the product to be fully responsive. The minimal design was created to fit harmoniously with your site.
Inspired by Envato site-switcher, here is a useful sticky side panel made with CSS and enhanced greatly with jQuery.
Rollover navigation with a glow.
An easy to install JQuery Plugin that contains more options than most users will ever need. This plugin takes your HTML and turns it into a collapsible menu system with endless numbers of menus within menus. Works great with all major browsers e.g. Chrome, Safari, Firefox and even IE.
As the name suggests, Sherpa is a total solution for all your navigation requirements. Sherpa brings together the three main navigation elements of every interface – Navbar, Sidebar and Sticky Footer.
The idea is to make a box with a menu item that slides out, while a thumbnail pops up. We will also include a submenu box with further links for some of the menu items. The submenu will slide to the left or to the right depending on which menu item we are hovering.
A small, solid jQuery plugin which is quite easy to use. It’s a menu which can be used with or without JQuery. What’s special about this script is the included plugin jstorage.js (which is some amazing work btw) to store the current item. So if you’re navigating around, the selected item will stay highlighted. This will spare you some server-side code. You can try this one by clicking on the menu item “File -> New”.
JQuery Slick Menu is a nice, configurable animated menu for your website with lots of configuration options. It is fully W3C compliant and works fine on mobile devices e.g. iPhone and iPad.
A simple and practical navigation or featured image jQuery plugin.
With this plugin you’ll make the page scroll smoothly when the navigation is clicked. It also automatically highlights the correct navigation section depending upon which section is scrolled to.
This is an unobtrusive jQuery plugin allowing you to organize your content in attractively skinned tabs.
You can use skinableTabs with multiple positions, skins and transition effects. You can customize the look and feel of any skin in a dedicated CSS file.
Dropp – MORE INFO
Dropp is a jQuery plugin which replaces regular dropdown menus ( <select> elements ) with alternatives you can style.
This is a jQuery plugin that enables us to create horizontal navigations with unlimited sub-menus. Besides jQuery, it also requires jQuery UI and supports all the effects of this library. The markup of the menu is pretty clean as it makes use of nested lists.
This plugin renders unordered lists into a subway map similar in style to the London Underground map. It emphasizes a clean, aesthetic look with curves and proper placement of markers for stations and interchanges.
This plugin will let you show long list of elements managing pagination, it can work with elements already in the DOM of your page or loading them via ajax when needed. And it works with mouse wheel of course.
JCrumb is a JQuery plugin for instantly adding breadcrumbs to any webpage without the need to worry about sitemaps, or server side languages.
jQuery Stepy – A Wizard Plugin – MORE INFO
jQuery Stepy is a plugin based on FormToWizard that generates a customizable wizard.
This plugin offers two options: The menu can be designed to either be toggled by clicking or by simply scrolling over the menu.
ContextMenuis a lightweight jQuery plugin that lets you selectively override the browser’s right-click menu with a custom one of your own.
When run on a DOM element, this plugin will make the element grow and fill its content automatically when the user scrolls to the bottom of the element. The content is fetched via ajax, and the plugin keeps a cache using local storage.