When designing a website, navigation is of utmost importance. It has to be crystal clear.
Prospects visit your site for a particular purpose and your website design must immediately direct them to the information they are searching.
If you keep them guessing and floundering about your website for information, rest assured they will leave frustrated vowing never to come back (and view their visit was a waste of time).
To ensure you don’t end up losing traffic there are a few “don’ts” you might want to consider while designing your website.
- Don’t try to look different by changing the place of the navigation bar/column on each web page. Keep the terms for the items on the menu bar consistent. Giving an item a different name on each new page may look amusing to you, but your visitors will definitely not be entertained by your puns when they will have to guess the terms on your menu bar for every other page.
- Don’t have navigation links that blend in with the page, making it difficult for your visitors to locate them. If you think that navigation links which fade in and fade out look cute, how would you feel if the road signs faded in and out while you were driving. Not too happy I believe. This is how your visitors feel when they have to point their mouse on a certain point of your site to make the navigation bar appear, only to have it disappear the moment the cursor moves beyond it.
- Don’t overcrowd your navigation bar. Instead use a multi-level navigation bar since it breaks down website pages into categories , making it easier for your visitors to search for relevant information.
Now that we know the “dont’s” with our website navigation here are a few pointers on what you must do to make your website navigation user-friendly.
- Do add a search box to your website. Your website should have plenty of content so it is crucial to direct visitors to information without having to go through a number of links.
- Do cut down on the number of choices you offer on your navigation menu to assist your visitors make decisions.
- Do make certain your visitors know which page they are on by highlighting the tab of the selected page. Don’t forget to include links to your homepage on each of your webpage to help visitors go back if they need to.
Planning a user-friendly navigation, is not rocket science; after all, you will learn what works best for you through trial and error.