We live in a fast paced world where people want to find what they are looking for with ease: they want information readily available to them. If we’re driving to a new place, more often than not we’ll put the address into our Sat Nav so that we know where to go and we’ll look out for sign posts along the way. The same principles apply to a website. People look for clear navigation to easily find what they are looking for.
Here we identify… Top tips for effective navigation
Website Design – Although you want your website to look visually striking, you don’t want that to distract from its usability. If your website looks great but people aren’t able to use it, then it’s likely that they are just going to go elsewhere, so keep this in mind at all times.
Header – Decide on your main sections of your website and place these in the header, you can always have drop downs underneath your main headers however, you want to keep this main navigation clear, uncluttered and easily understandable. The common headers include, Home, About Us, Services, Contact Us, for example. Don’t stray too much from what we know already works, users like familiarity.
Flow – When building your link structure and deciding which pages should appear under which headings, be sure to check that the pages actually flow and make sense to the user. For example, if you own a handyman business, you might have a section for painting and decorating and relevant pages off this and then a completely different section for plumbing services which are more structural.
Clicks – Keep your clicks minimal. The more clicks a user has to take, the more likely they are to drop off. So keep the clicks minimal for users to get to the content they are looking for. Remove any unnecessary clicks out of the user’s journey.
Descriptive – When you are linking to another page, make sure the link explains what content the user can expect to find on the subsequent page. Try and avoid using the text “click here” and instead, use a descriptive term such as “contact us” instead.
Sitemap – ensure you have a well built sitemap. Your sitemap should essentially include every page on your website which some users might reference to see the total content.
Search Tool – If you are able to include a search bar, this can be a great tool for allowing users to navigate to exactly the content they are looking for in minimal steps. This is particularly useful if you have a large website with lots of pages. Users can simply input a search term and the relevant pages will be listed underneath.
It is a good idea to get a few people to test your website navigation to ensure that it is easily accessible and has great usability by the masses.