Buttondown’s navigation has… not been ideal. For a long time.

The navigation itself has barely changed since it got set in stone in early 2017; you can see it in action (with slightly different CSS, and no dropdown menu) in a blog post from 2017!

I say it’s not ideal for a handful of reasons:

  • The mobile experience is trapped in a state of “trying to be cute” and looking like a tab bar
  • There’s a weird bifurcation between the primary navigation of “Write / Subscribers / Archive” and the secondary navigation (to, say, tags or scheduled emails) because I wasn’t smart enough to figure out an extensible navigation.
  • Important links (say, to documentation, or pricing details) are hidden in the Footer and completely inaccessible once you’ve logged in.

I’ve been meaning to take another stab at navigation for a while now: every time I add a new settings subpage or nested modal the situation grows a little more dire, and it is finally time to tear off the bandaid.


…Oh wow. That’s rather spare, isn’t it?

Let’s dive into these two new affordances.

As you might guess from the title of this heading, “omni-search” is a universal search bar. You can search for all sorts of things:

  1. Subscribers
  2. Archives
  3. Internal and external pages
  4. Documentation

The search bar is fast, it is accessible, and it is always a keystroke away (just hit /).

The big ol’ dropdown

This dropdown should look pretty similar to the old one, except with, well, more of it. Gone are the weird sub-navigation hierarchies: everything is just here.

Change is hard, I know.

I’m fairly sensitive to the fact that changing workflows and interfaces is onerous and painful. Adjustment takes time! This is a pretty opinionated interface, but it feels scalable in a way that the previous interface certainly was not. I apologize for whatever short-term friction this causes you, and please send me feedback if you’d like: I’m always open to methods for making Buttondown a better experience.

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