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Replacing DropDown menu with Sub-Cat thumbnails

Replacing DropDown menu with Sub-Cat thumbnails

I'm new to Magento and was hoping to get some help regarding a site we are currently attempting to get up and running. We currently have a dropdown menu as out main category browsing method however because of the large amount of categories and subcategories required for our site I think that it is going to be a little messy for our customers to browse. 

Instead of a dropdown menu what I would like is for only the top level cats to ever show in the LH menu. Upon clicking on one of these top level cats I want to subcats to show as image thumbnails with only the titles underneath. I also have a third level of sub categories which is required before the product list which I also want to display as category thumbnails.

People simply do not seem to want to use the dropdown and instead click on the top level category instead of the plus icon which extends out menu. This action takes them to a page that simply says that there are no products when in fact there are but a couple of layers deeper. The store does also have a theme installed if this makes a difference. 

Unfortunately I am not a coder so I'm hoping this is possible to accomplish without much difficulty however it will make the site much easier to navigate.

If anyone can help I would be hugely appreciative. Thank you