Along with interactive design, website navigation structure is also an important element which cannot be overlooked. The navigation of a website is an actual pathway that people will be using to go through a website. It has to got to be well constructed, intuitive and very easy to use. If your website lacks good navigation it simply will not help user to have a good web browsing experience and it will simply put them off. This isn’t good as websites these days are an important part of most of the businesses.
Userfriendly, Interactive and Good navigation is lot fundamental to website development these days. In today’s fast paced internet technology, people are used to accessing information easily and quickly. Overlooking this valuable aspect hampers a lot your website traffic. There will be high bounce rate as people will simply move on if your website navigation isn’t as good as it should be. Remember people demand quick and accurate information and good navigation isn’t a choice but a matter of survival in the internet world.
Minimize the total number of CMS pages
Website with less pages increase opportunity to build good navigation. Ideal navigation for any business website should revolve around some basic information such as:
- Company Information
- Services with dropdown of service listing
There is no need to repeat the same services in different ways on different pages for instance if you offer magento web development service then there is no need to build another page for magento developers. Combine both into single page. Website with less number of pages reduce the burden and load website fast which ultimately gives good browsing experience to visitors.
People should be able to enter your website from any page and not just homepage
The basic of keeping visitors engaged on your website is providing them great accessibility and giving them opportunity to explore more on your website with good navigation structure. People can enter into your website from number of other pages thus it is important that, despite designing website entirely around the home page, give same credit to internal pages as well and provide your visitors a clear path to move on onto your website.
Reduce the additional clicks
People these days want to get their tasks done with fewer clicks only. Mouse rollovers and engaging Jquery animations are available these days which can be very handy.
Be in a typical user’s shoes and then design
This is a very big mistake many website designers and developers do that they do not think or try to understand the hurdles end users are likely to face. Remember that a website is for user. No matter how much creative and technically brilliant a website from your perspective is if it doesn’t attract and provide information to user easily, your creativity actually fails. Usability testing plays a huge role before a navigation structure is designed. It’s so so important to take into consideration factors such as target audience type, region, education, business culture etc. Design a structure what people would like to see, use and enjoy. That’s a real winner.
Most Popular Primary Website Navigation Types:
It gives more space for actual content to be displayed. A popular trend these days is to have sticky top navigation. So the top menu always remains visible while the user scrolls down the other accessing other information on page. He/she can always move onto to other pages through this top navigation.
Traditionally this has been the most popular navigation pattern. However website designers must take care that there is sufficient space available for actual body content to be nicely displayed. Most of the times left side navigation include services listing and sub-menu. Accordions are also widely used in left side navigation.
You will most likely come across this type of navigation in Blogs and events etc. You will have list of categories, archives, monthly events, calenders etc in such navigation.
Well what we call secondary navigation is mostly referred to us as footer although there isn’t any particular thumb rule for this. Links like Terms and Conditions, Privacy Policies, Site Map, Contact Us etc.
Quick Links to Important Service pages in secondary navigation
Although this is advisable to have links to important services pages in footer area, this doesn’t have to be over done for SEO benefits. The purpose of quick links is to give quick access to users to important pages on website.
This has been an important SEO factor too. One way to do this is by placing links to other pages of the website within the body text. The other way around is to list few links of related topics or services at the end of main content. For example, you can add links to related resources or topics in a blog. Valuable external links also play good part from SEO perspective.
Highlight where the user currently is
It’s like travelling in a train. You constantly get reminded at which station your train is. Website navigation is similar in a way where your navigation bar should highlight in different colour fonts or background clearly showing where the user is. Navigation serves like a road map clearly letting users know how they can reach their destination.
Make Navigation menu for today’s multiple devices
Websites these days are not just for traditional desktops. Tablets and SmartPhones have enormously captured the tech world. It’s must to have websites ready to be nicely visible on these multiple mobile devices and your menu must be equally friendly. They are differently designed compared to fixed layouts and navigation should be provided in such a way that the user can easily move around all the pages through the touch of their fingers on mobile devices.
Few Important Check Points
- Simple, Short, Intuitive and Clear Title.
- Max 6 to 7 important links in Primary Navigation.
- Make the primary navigation creative by different font colours or backgrounds on mouse hover and providing drop down using Java Script.
- Highlight the current page with different colour.
- Make them to be adaptable with mobile devices.
The best way to find out how your navigation performs is by having inexperience and new test users who have never seen your website before. Test how they react and what difficulties they come across. Take the positive and negative points into consideration and use this to plan your future strategy.