Easy navigation around a website is of the up-most importance when it comes to designing a website. Here are some tips for website navigation: There is no point of having a very creative and exciting website, if your viewers are unable to use it and navigate around it to find all of the important information they are searching for. Navigation is best understood as the method in which you explore and move around the website.
Keeping it simple and obvious will keep your clients and visitors happy and coming back for more. Be sure that your visitors are able to locate the necessary information as soon as possible, without searching through heaps of extra information. Navigation should assist the user in finding all the information they are after, before a call to action can be made.
Website Navigation Tips
Some Tips for Good Website Navigation include:
- Navigation throughout website needs to be consistent.
- Link the Logo to the Home Page.
- Place the navigation system on the top and left of the page. These include tabs like “About Us”, “Contact Us”, “Site Map” and other information.
- Cut down the number of clicks the user needs before they get to their information destination. It should not require more than 3 clicks to find the necessary information and destination.
- The navigation tools/bars need to remain present when moving from one web page to the next. These are usually found on the left side or the top of the page.
- Navigation needs to be clear, structured and intuitive.
- It is a good idea to have between 4 and 15 links on the navigation bars. Too many will become very overwhelming.
- Links need to be descriptive and allow the people to know exactly where they are going to. Never link the term “Click Here”. Rather link the exact location the link will take you. An example includes “Contact Us”.
- Link to other articles in the site where possible. This means that these links will take you to other relevant articles in the site, encouraging visitors to read more.
- There must always be a link to the Home Page, on every page. Home pages are generally the central station, where it connects to all the other areas and pages in the website.
- “The Bread Crumb Trail” is a row of links that shows how your website is structured. This is used so that those visiting your site will not feel lost. This is especially good, if someone arrives at your website through an internet search.
- Page jumps are links to sections of a single page. They are necessary for pages that have long and large amounts of information. This is for those readers who don’t have the time to scroll down the page; instead they are able to click on a list of headings at the top of the page and then arriving at the requested heading further down the page.
- Site maps are also very important because they are used so to link to all the available pages on the website.
- Search facilities are also a great way to navigate and explore the website. It offers your readers results of exactly what they are looking for.
- Decorate your navigational tools/bars in different colours, texts and icons. This needs to still ensure that your website remains simple.
- The navigation of your website needs to be simple and obvious. The user should not have to figure out how it works and how to use it.
- Navigation needs to be familiar. This will make your user feel more confident and comfortable when exploring your site. They will also feel in control if you understand how it works and where the navigation tools will take them.
- Use common structures. This means having the navigation bars and tools on the left or top of the screen.
- Keep the design of the navigation consistent, simple and continuous.
- Don’t change defaults. This means avoid changing the colour of the blue underlined link. This can cause confusion and frustration.
- Don’t underline text that is not a link, to emphasize rather use bold, colour or italics.
- The navigational makeup of a website includes menus, hypertext links, icons, buttons and search facilities.
- Good navigation has excellent flow, which means that you can enjoy and interact with the website through a click or two. This means that the users should be able to go from one page to the next without returning to the home page.
- There are two types of navigation; primary navigation includes the major important links and categories. Secondary navigation includes subcategories.
- Remember, the fewer clicks the better, so be sure that your navigation system is comprehensive, clear and easy to use.
Importance of Navigation
Why Navigation is so important:
- Without navigation, websites can appear unstructured and organised.
- The navigation bar or tools is a clear indication that your website is filled with knowledge and depth.
- People have a clear indication of what is on offer and what they can find and expect from the website. They are also encouraged to explore more, if they are able to clearly see the navigation bars and links.
- Navigation tools help to break up the website into categories and groups in a logical and understandable group.
- Navigation is important because your readers don’t want to figure out how your website works.
- Good navigation can speed up the viewers search.
- Navigation on a website is mainly used so that the visitors have a good idea of what the website is about, without venturing around the whole website.
- Navigation should be simple to understand, which will generally mean that the viewers will stay longer and will return because it is a pleasure to use.
- Good navigation works well with SEO, in that it enables the Search Engine Spiders to properly crawl sites and index them. It will also improve web usability. This means that if the website is not accessible by a link, it will not be found, by search engines.
- Good navigation can place websites highly on search engines.
- Navigation is necessary in ensuring that your website is accessible and usable.
- Good navigation will allow visitors to search your site for longer, giving them confidence in where they are and what they can receive from your website. Navigation allows visitors to search with ease.
Exploring Websites through Navigation
Good quality navigation is a must when it comes to designing a website. Navigation is used so that your visitors can explore the website without having to hunt for a hidden treasure. It will keep your visitors happier as they ease through your website and return time and again.