CSS Inspiration JavaScript Markup Web Design

Our Faves: Top 12 Navbar Hover Effects and Effects on Click

In this post, we have collected some of the most creative navbar demos and tutorials for your inspiration.


Are you looking for inspiring effects and interaction ideas for your site? Well, we’ve put together a collection of some of the most creative and fresh navbar demos and tutorials. Enjoy!

Greedy Navigation

See the Pen Greedy Navigation by lukejacksonn (@lukejacksonn) on CodePen.

This is a great way to handle a responsive menu. With just a little JavaScript, you’ll get a menu that stacks items into a dropdown when they overflow. Not only that, but a hamburger style button with a badge count appears when there are hidden items to reveal. Luke Jackson calls it Greedy Navigation—we call it genius.

One Page Navigation

See the Pen One Page Navigation CSS Menu by Alberto Hartzet (@hrtzt) on CodePen.15206

If you are looking for a simple one page navigation to access different sections, and if you want transitions with pure CSS, then look no further. This One Page Navigation Menu is super clean, super neat, and super cool!

Oooey Gooey Menu Effect

See the Pen svg goo effect demonstration by Lucas Bebber (@lbebber) on CodePen.15206

Lucas Bebber offers a perfect explanation of how SVG filters work, including how to use them to create a fun, gooey navigation menu effect. Check out the full tutorial here.

Responsive Navigation Ideas

See the Pen Responsive Navigation Ideas by Andrzej Dubiel (@dubiel) on CodePen.15206

Here you’ll find six different ways to turn plain old hamburger menus into something exciting. Simple hamburgers and a couple of plus icons flip, rotate, and transform into menus with just a few lines of JavaScript! No need for fries and a shake with these burgers—they are a visual feast in and of themselves.

Navigating the Vertical Design

See the Pen Vertical Layout with Navigation by Ettrics (@ettrics) on CodePen.15206

Here’s another way to tackle one page navigation when you’re working with a vertical scrolling layout. This menu starts with a simple hamburger icon and expands into vertical navigation with cool, bouncy animation. The scrolling effect is just as good.

Responsive Sidebar Navigation


This is an awesome responsive solution for big, complex sites like dashboards and admin areas, with many sub-categories in the menu. It’s neat, elegant, and intuitive. Just give it a try!

Flat Navigation

See the Pen Flat Navigation by Andy Tran (@andytran) on CodePen.15206

Are you looking for a simple navbar with more classic lines? If so, then check out this flat menu concept by Andy Tran and prepare to get inspired. All it takes is a little JavaScript and CSS under the hood to make this menu purr.

Flexbox Menu with Animation

See the Pen Lovely Flexbox Navigation Menu With Animation by Tomas Liashuk (@MyCarrera) on CodePen.15206

The beauty of a flexbox menu is that you can easily design for items to take up as much space as they need. Flex items grow, shrink, and wrap as needed. This menu shows just how easy it is to combine all the awesome flexbox features with animation for a truly remarkable navbar. If you want to learn more about flexbox, check out this tutorial.

Animated Navbar Hover Effect

See the Pen
Creative Navbar Hover Effect
by Santosh Goswami (@sbgoswami)
on CodePen.0

Why not combine navbar animation on hover with on click effect? Santosh Goswami has done just that. Only using the navbar animation CSS power with no JavaScript thrown in, he managed to create one of the most exciting navigation hover effects out there.

When hovering over an item, it comes to the forefront, while the rest of the navbar blurs away in the background. And if you click on the item at the same time, it becomes active and underlined. You can catch two rabbits after all.

Stacked Navigation


If you thought the Stacked Navigation over on Dribble was cool, then you’re going to love this demo! To activate the stacked menu, click the icon in the upper left corner. The navigation is provided by a collection of 3D pages that appear at the bottom of the screen. Then the next two pages are behind the current page in a stack. Clicking on a menu item calls the respective page up. This creative use of JavaScript — along with some modern CSS properties — has us saying “Deal us in!”.

Bulb Style Navigation Menu

See the Pen Bulb Style Navigation Menu by Brady Sammons (@soulrider911) on CodePen.15206

Here’s another great navigation idea that makes good use of flexbox. This main menu design also uses the CSS :pseudo element to create bulbs for a nice subtle interaction. Add a bit of color change to the background and hover, and you’ve got the base for a super bulb style main menu!

Bootstrap Navbar with Material Tabs and Search

See the Pen
Bootstrap Navbar with Material Tabs and Search
by Omkar Kulkarni (@TheThinkinGeek)
on CodePen.0

This navbar may look simplistic and easy to implement. But in fact, there’s quite a bit of code under the hood with JavaScript blazing some of its most powerful guns. And while it has none of CSS menu hover effects such as the one Santosh Goswami used in his navbar (see above), it looks no less interesting with its sliding underline.

The Importance of the Navbar and the Most Common Navbar Hover Effects

There’s probably no website design element so crucial for the user experience as the navbar. It’s like a road map. If it’s confusing, hard to read, and differs from page to page instead of being uniform, users are not likely to stay on your website for long.

The navbar has particular significance for money-generating sites, such as online stores. If a consumer can’t easily find a product they are interested in because of a badly designed navbar, it will negatively impact the sales. Thus, an online merchant serious about their business should pay the closest attention to the navbar design.

The Most Widely Used Types of Navbar

There are several types of navigation menu you can find on the majority of sites.

  • Side or vertical navbar. This type of navigation menu is normally located on the left-hand side of the page. The key use case for a vertical navbar is when a website structure is very complex and the menu houses a lot of submenus for smoother navigation.
  • Horizontal navbar. The location of this type of navigation menu is normally the uppermost part of the page. It takes the entire space of the viewport from left to right. The horizontal bar may disappear from the page as a user scrolls down. Alternatively, it may remain “pinned” to the top. The latter subtype of navbar is great for long pages. In general, use the horizontal navigation menu when your site is not ‘very deep,’ that is, has relatively few pages.

The Most Common Navigation Menu Hover Effects with CSS

Creating a simple and clear-to-follow navbar is only part of the story. You should also make the navigation menu visually appealing and responsive to visitors’ actions. One way to do that is to use hover effects with CSS.

Web designers are in a perpetual search for new and unusual hover effects. That said, some of these have been around for quite a while and are used more often than others. Let’s take a look at them.

Hover Effect #1: Changing the Background Color of the Current Item in the Navbar

As a user hovers over the menu items, the background color of the current item becomes different. For example, black changes to white. This is one of the many menu hover effects CSS can accomplish on its own.

Hover Effect #2: Changing the Font Weight of the Current Item

When the mouse cursor is positioned over an item in the navbar, its font weight increases. For example, About becomes About.

Hover Effect #3: The Current Item Is Underlined

When a user hovers over an item a line appears below its name similar to underlining a link.

Hover Effect #4: Putting a Line Across the Current Item

This is one of less frequently used navbar effects. A line appears across the current item as soon as a user hovers over it. This is similar to how you mark completed items in a to-do list.

Hover Effect #5: Replacing the Current Navbar Item with an Icon

Finally, one of the most spectacular navigation menu hover effects is substituting the name of the hovered-over item with a corresponding icon. For example, you can replace Contacts with an icon of a mobile phone.

These are just some of the most popular navbar effects on hover. The more unconventional your navbar looks, though, the more memorable your site is. You can have some inspiration from the examples we have given in this post.

That’s it! We hope you’ll find this roundup of demos as fresh, innovative, and exciting as we do. If you have any comments or suggestions for our future articles, please let us know. We’d love to hear from you!

Best Frontend Development ASAP

Last updated: July 12, 2022

Dmytro Mashchenko

Dmytro is the CEO of GetDevDone, an experienced web developer, and a prolific author of in-depth technology and business-related posts. He is always eager to share his years-long expertise with everyone who wants to succeed in the web development field.

For more professional insights from Dmytro, connect with him on LinkedIn.