Navigation is a crucial part of browsing and therefore an important element of good web design. Users navigate between hyperlinks and tabs searching for information and navigation can make or break their experience of a website. One of the most frustrating experiences for the online user is not being able to access the information they are looking for.
Intuitive navigation makes browsing an enjoyable experience because it allows users to find the information they are looking for with ease. If users enjoy browsing your website, they will keep coming back. On the other hand, if users get frustrated trying to find information on your site, they are likely to leave your site and never return.
Making navigation easy
There are a few simple rules you can follow to ensure simple navigation around your website. For example, keep tabs and menus towards to the top of the page. This makes them easy to find. These menu tabs should also be clearly marked with recognisable labels that indicate where they will take visitors to your site.
You should also indicate hyperlinks to your visitors by underlining them, and even highlighting them by using a different colour for hyperlinked text. Another alternative is for hyperlinked text to change colour if people scroll over it. This way visitors to your site know that clicking on the text will take them to another page, where they can find out more about information.
Choosing Navigation designs that work
There are different types of navigation designs or patterns and it is important to choose a design that works for your website. For example, horizontal bar navigation is popular navigation format that gives a website a simple look and feel. It works well if you only have a few tabs, but because it spans the width of the landing page, you can only fit a few tabs in and still keep the tab labels legible. Horizontal bar navigation often works well for a website’s main navigation menus.
However, you may prefer to opt for drop down menus if you require more tabs. For example, if you want your website to have pages for your products and services, you may choose to have a drop down menu for your products and services if there are several of these. You can also pair these two navigation styles together by including a ‘products’ and a ‘services’ tab in a horizontal bar across the top of your landing page and have drop down menus listing your products and services when people scroll over the ‘products’ or ‘services’ tab.
Remember navigation is a key part of a visitors experience of your site. Make sure your website has simple, intuitive navigation. Contact WSI OMS to find out more about web design.