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7 Open Source React Navbars + Some Pitfalls And Things To Consider

anaflatlogic profile image Nastassia Ovchinnikova Originally published at flatlogic.com ・7 min read

What is React Navbar?

Navbar is an often unsung hero of a site. A trustworthy companion that provides you with the tools and links on a site to lighten your browsing and navigation in a swirling sea of the World Wide Web. Shortly speaking, a React Navbar is a navigation bar component that is created on ReactJS. In broad terms, a React Navbar is a useful tool to gradually improve your project if used correctly.

Navigation bars made on React and Bootstrap basis are indeed versatile and leave quite room for imagination in the sphere of design and functionality solutions. That’s a point that we would be glad to confirm in this article. But, unfortunately, it should also be said that there is no ideal in this world, so we would also be discussing some problematic points of making React and Bootstrap Navbars for your consideration.

That’s why we’ve decided to share with you our viewpoint on it, tell you about a couple of Open Source React Navbars you can implement on your project and also tell you about possible pitfalls to avoid. So, without further ado, let’s start.

7 Open Source React Navbars

react-site-nav by Yusinto Ngadiman

Yusinto Ngadiman has created a slick and stylish React Navbar, inspired by a navbar on Stripe’s site; his own vision of the matter, if you might say so. Stripe’s site navbar is fully animated, stylized by components and css animations and contains neat small icons according to each navigation point of the site. react-site-nav has all the same features with a small correction of unified style (also, you are, as usual, free to experiment around it and create your own version of this navbar). The only downside as of now is the absence of a version, customized for mobiles. But the creator has promised to also deliver on that point some time in the future.

GitHub: https://github.com/yusinto/react-site-nav

react-responsive-navbar by Stephanie Inez

If global trends are anything to go by, then it should be noted that nowadays “nice and simple” is the name of the game, as more and more international brands simplify themselves to be closer to their audiences. That’s why we suggest you keep in mind react-responsive-navbar that says a stern and decisive “No, thanks, maybe some other time” to all the possible flashiness and goes for substance over style. Simplicity, straightforwardness, complete customizability – those are the defining traits of this navbar.

GitHub: https://github.com/stephanieinez/react-responsive-navbar

Flatlogic One React Template

This one is a React 16.5.2-based template, which implies the wide usage on the web and means you get not only a navigation bar, but a full package for your site that is quite useful for analytics building and data tables application. Also, it should be added that One React provides a static inner-page side navbar for each table, making it easy to sort the wheat from the chaff. As for the design, this template is made in a classic three colors pattern: white, grey and orange beautifly intertwining to create a complete composition. Feel free to give this one a thorough look and you’ll, no doubt, fall in love with its usability and finesse.

GitHub: https://github.com/flatlogic/one-react-template

react-responsive-animate-navbar by Nazeh Taha

One of the best things about this navbar is how responsive it really is, as it automatically adapts to the needed size of the page without any additional inner tinkering. The other mind note to make is the simplicity and style connection this navigation bar oozes by having a minimalist sleek black design in its standard form. The colour can be changed, although, so, if you are not a fan of dark tones or your site simply needs a brighter colour, it can be easily changed.

GitHub: https://github.com/Nazeh-Taha/react-responsive-animate-navbar

Light Blue React Free

Once again on this list, the entree is not just a navbar, but a full-blown ready-to-use dashboard template. The peculiar thing about Light Blue React is the fact that the navbar in it is situated on the left, rather than on the top of the page, which will give your site a fresh spin and differentiates it from the majority of the sites. This twist to the standard formula also has a functional meaning, as it allows your navigation bar to demonstrate and provide shortcuts to more sections of the site without creating supplementary subsections inside the navbar. Additionally it must be said that the overall design of Light Blue React is something to feast your eyes upon, as it is the first ever Bootstrap 4 and React-built transparent dashboard template. It’s a must-try for your project for sure.

GitHub: https://github.com/flatlogic/light-blue-react-template

React Scrolling NavBar

This navbar is based on a simple premise that would be most useful for one page sites – as you scroll through the site and go between sections within the page, the navigation bar demonstrates what section of the site you are currently on. Nice idea and smooth actual implementation, but there is a catch. First of all, this navigation bar currently has no maintenance, which means that it is not quite suitable for professional sites and would be more fitting for passion projects. Second of all, this navbar is not suitable for mobile versions of the sites if there are one too many sections. But it is a beauty of a component that just takes a pinch of work and imagination to work properly. So, if you are not afraid to give it a little bit of your time to dig around the code, React Scrolling NavBar is something to consider.

GitHub: https://github.com/lijunray/react-scrolling-nav

React Navbar

We close this little list with something you can call a classic. This navigation bar has no tricks up its sleeves, it’s simple and straightforward. As they say, sometimes the worst thing to do is to overthink. So, this entree is most fitting for those sites that try not to overcomplicate things, as the most complex aspect of it is the existence of a drop-down menus within. Nothing more, nothing less.

GitHub: https://github.com/ikr/react-navbar

React Navbar’s Pitfalls and Things to Consider

Now, as we promised earlier, let’s discuss the not-so-great parts of the whole React Navbars.

And, to be quite honest, we couldn’t find that many: React Navbars are quite reliable and, as an old saying goes: “Don’t reinvent the wheel”. But nonetheless,​ you might want to consider the fact that nowadays navbars could be reviewed as quite rudimentary on a number of sites and apps.

The reason for that is, in all actuality, the steady rise of mobile internet usage and the fact that phones are getting bigger and bigger screens. This issue is quite prevalent on iPhones and other flagman phones. As navbars are traditionally placed in the upper part of the page an ordinary user simply cannot reach it with his thumb, thus rendering navbar pointless and space-consuming. But there are a couple more cons and pitfalls and quite nitpicky at that (also still something to consider, as UI should also consider small annoyances):

  • Navbar makes it harder to go back to the top of the page, if there is any horizontal movement on the site or the app. That issue, of course, can be resolved by simply making your navigation bar stretchy according to the site’s size in the mobile version.

  • Navbars require naming each and every section of your site or app. And, the truth is that not all of them need it, because some might not be substantial enough to be named and some are quite self-explanatory. Although, this pitfall is also resolved quite easily if you consider the possibility of making the sections of your site in broad terms.

  • Using navbars often require the use of both hands. And that one might sound especially nitpicky, as it is not that hard to do, but in the modern world if there is a possibility of using anything with one hand it is better to be as convenient as it can be, because we live in a multitasking world that requires a possibility to use your mobile device one-handed.

  • Navbars bring complexity to the simplest of sites. This point needs a little bit of an explanation. The general expectation is as follows: navbar constitutes deep information architecture of a site. So, if your app or site does not contain that much information it might be simply unnecessary.

Also, keeping in mind all the upper-mentioned information, also consider the fact that navigation bars as a whole are mostly a desktop site’s feature in their standard understanding. But the general versatility of React Navbars also allows for endless variations and modifications of the tried and tested formulas and the best thing you can do when pondering the actual necessity of a navigation bar in your project can be formulated in simple questions:

  • “Does the end-user​ need it?”;
  • “Will the navbar make the usage of the site more convenient for the end user?”;
  • “Is it easy to adapt the navbar for the mobile version of our site/app?”
  • “Why don’t we take the navbar from this beautiful One React Template?”

By answering these questions you will be able to understand your own site in a deeper way, as the understanding of the end user is one of the most important things in front-end development. It might also help you start considering other parts of your project from such a perspective and make your site much closer to perfection than it could have been. So, in a way, React Navbars are not only a useful tool, but are kind of a philosophical viewpoint of your own work.

Thanks for reading this article, and be sure to stay and read more useful and interesting pieces in our blog. See you next time!


About Flatlogic

At Flatlogic, we help businesses to speed up web development with our beautifully designed web & mobile application templates built with React, Vue, Angular, React Native, and Bootstrap. During the last several years we have successfully delivered more than 100 custom dashboards and data management solutions to various clients starting from innovative startups to established and respected enterprises.


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