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Creating a Navbar in React — SitePoint


This article will show you how you can build a navigation bar (“navbar”) in React, while covering everything from design considerations to implementation and accessibility best practices.

One of the essential parts of any web application is the navigation bar, as it allows users to navigate through different pages and sections of the website.

So it’s important that you build a navigation bar that has the required links, along with the right accessibility measures to ensure that your users are able to find their way within your application.

Key Takeaways

  • A navbar is a crucial element of any website, as it provides users with a means to navigate through different pages and sections.
  • React allows for the creation of reusable and modular components, making it an excellent choice for building complex UIs like navbars.
  • Accessibility should be a top priority when creating a navbar, ensuring that all users, including those with disabilities, can effectively navigate your website.

What is a Navbar?

A navbar is a user interface element that typically appears at the top or side of a web page.

It serves as a navigation aid, providing links or buttons that allow users to access different sections or pages within the website.

It’s essential for creating a seamless and intuitive user experience, as it helps users understand the structure and hierarchy of the website, and enables them to move effortlessly between different parts of the application.

Here are a few examples of well-designed navbars:

Airbnb. Airbnb’s navbar features a clean and minimalist design, with clear links to various sections of the website, such as “Places to stay”, “Experiences”, and “Online Experiences”.

Airbnb's navbar

Dropbox. The Dropbox navbar is simple yet effective, with a prominent “Products” dropdown menu that allows users to explore different offerings.

Dropbox's navbar

Building a Navbar in React

Now that we understand the importance of navbars, let’s dive into the process of building one using React.

For this example, we’ll create a navbar for an ecommerce website called “ShopNow”.

Step 1: Designing the navbar

Before we start coding, it’s essential to have a clear design in mind for our navbar.

For our ShopNow website, we’ll aim for a simple yet modern design with the following elements:

  • a logo on the left side
  • links to different sections of the website (such as “Products”, “About Us” and “Contact”)
  • a shopping cart icon with a badge displaying the number of items in the cart
  • a user icon for account-related actions (such as “Sign In” and “My Account”)

Here’s a mockup of how our navbar might look.

A mockup of our navbar. It has white text on a black background, with "ShopNpow" on the left, "Products About Us Contact" in the middle, and shopping cart and user icons on the right

Step 2: Setting up the React project

Before we start building our navbar, we’ll need to set up a new React project. You can create a new React project using Create React App by running the following command in your terminal:

npx create-react-app shopnow

Once the project is set up, navigate to the project directory and start the development server:

cd shopnow
npm start

Step 3: Creating the navbar component

With SPA frameworks like React, it’s important that you design and think in reusable, independent components. So it’s crucial to build components that you can reuse throughout your application.

One application of a reusable component is a navigation bar. You can create a reusable navbar component that you can reuse within your application.

Let’s create a new file called Navbar.js in the src directory and add the following code:

import React from 'react';
import './Navbar.css';
const Navbar = () => {
  return (
<nav className="navbar">
  {}
nav>
);
};
export default Navbar;

We’ve created a functional component called Navbar that returns a

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