Designing a website’s navigation is like laying a house’s foundation. If you won’t be able to plan that foundation properly, you are putting the entire building at risk of a collapse no matters how good it looks. Similarly, when you want to reap the best of benefits and conversions from your website, you need to create a plan on establishing an efficient medium to interact with your potential client base and determine the most effective way to organize and put it in front.
Keep one thing noted – if you will miss any detail in this part, you risk losing a good section of the target audience.
Firstly, let’s understand the term Navigation in a little deep.
There’s always more than one way of considering any aspect. This seems quite true with the concept of Navigation. It can be defined as the focal point of your website that helps customers to locate the things they are searching for without being distracted by unnecessary clicks or any other sort of confusion. It is arguably right to call navigation gentle guidance to the customers towards the most important sections of your website for generating sales and revenue.
Both definitions are true!
Designing Navigation is one of the many other things in a design. You can’t find a universally accepted right method to do it. Every website has some challenges to deal with, which can be taken care of in numerous ways. And, the good thing is there are plenty of ways to think about structuring the content that will minimize the risk of failures.
Here’re Some Principles to Follow For Good Website Navigation
Keeping it unique is the primary principle. Keep the elements visually separated and easy to locate. Don’t keep the contents in the same color, size, or font as that of the body text. The navigational text should always stand apart. For the buttons of the menu, using contrasting colors and legible text goes a perfect match.
Don’t mix up the things for the sake of making it extraordinary. In fact, you should help visitors to quickly locate the available stuff. If you will make them think that it’s hard to find anything, you will tend to lose them. Follow the K.I.S.S. principle of design i.e. Keep It Simple, Stupid as simple things can be easily understood by anyone.
Make sure you have kept the model of navigation the same in all your pages. It is a significant aspect as a break inconsistency may make a user think that he/she stumbled upon some other website. Help your visitors by providing them a consistent order without making them feel confused.
Don’t use the uncommon navigation forms. If you will present something that people are already familiar with, they will be able to deal with it much easier. You can experiment the way you will represent, but be specific with the basic structure.
Make sure you are providing the relevant menu contents so that customers can get an idea of where to find what. Keep these terms simple and obvious. Don’t leave people with a puzzle as they won’t bother to resolve it. Putting the thing straightforward will be great. If exploring would not be a matter of seconds, it will contribute towards making the user experience bad for the visitors.
Gone is the time to use generic terms such as Products or Services. Such terms have nothing to do in communication with visitors. Let your navigation define the main products and services so that you can create instant communication with potential customers. No customer will make a search on Product and Service; they will simply put the product name on the search engine and will seek information about it.
Adding too many things into the main menu can split up the attention of visitors while you can add numerous links to the vertical navigation. It is even the most preferable solution. Avoiding less significant elements makes the remaining ones more imperative. Drive user attention towards the prominent links.
Any interaction is rated on the basis of feedback from the users. Make sure you are offering an indication of the action every time the visitors hover on the menu items. The difference can be indicated through a different color or background of the web page.
Be sure to reflect the most important items in the first place of the navigation bar and least important in the middle. People attention tends to move highest for the things that they can look on the top or at the bottom. For instance, the standard location for “Contact” is the end of the navigation bar.
Web designing still follows the trend of minimalism and the majority of web designers break down the navigation to the simplest layout. This looks fine if it doesn’t appear dull and follows the principle of being distinct and interactive.
A cool looking navigational menu also contributes to pleasurable user experience but make sure the style matches the website’s theme.
Before planning the navigation, you need to figure out the prominent features that your website is offering. Prepare an information hierarchy for what’s important and what’s less important. The best solution here would be organizing the content and make navigations its reflection.
Playing sound every time a user clicks or hovers on the menu is simply not a solution. In fact, people don’t like such surprises. Sometimes sound fills in the interest, at the same time becomes annoying if you will use it for every click.
There are many more aspects that you need to pay attention like accessibility, responsiveness, visibility, animations, flawlessness, scalability, etc. Above all, it should be tested. Ask your closed ones from friends and family to test the functionality of the navigation bar before making it live.
Navigation plays a vital role in good user experience and their prolonged engagement. As already discussed that every website has some challenges, you can deviate from the rules mentioned above as per the requirement. Keep testing and tweaking out the improvement areas through analytics.
Priya is a Technical SEO at Hopinfirst, a leading mobile app development company which provide the best ios app development and Android app development Services.