The navigation of a website is one of the most important elements. Website navigation needs to help users find the information, products or services they need on a site quickly and efficiently.
We’ve all seen some websites where creative navigation was used, but one could argue that a home page which consists of one big picture isn’t the easiest way for a website user to understand the navigation and find the content he or she was looking for.
Getting caught up in unique designs may create something different for the client, but it is important to remember that their clients (the website users) are probably on the website to quickly get the information they need, so it may not be wise sending them on a roundabout to access the various pages they want to look at. Here are some ways to test if your navigation efforts are really working:
Test it out
Get somebody who is unfamiliar with the company to use the website. Ask the office accountant to try to buy a product from the website or to find out if the company offers a specific service you need. If you see the person gazing around the home page, unsure of where to click next, it’s a sign that your website navigation might be too complex for the average user.
Although some designers dislike underlining text links in the body content, you may be surprised to find out how few website users will click on words if they are not underlined (they simply don’t realise that it’s a hyperlink!). These design techniques may seem old-fashioned, but they are consistently used, leading them to become important visual cues for website visitors.
Once you have somebody on a sub-page in the website, ask them to get back to the home page. Many website users will scroll down to the bottom of the page they are on, expecting to find the main navigation buttons (such as About Us, Contact Us and Home Page) as a text link on the bottom of the page. Make sure you’ve got these hyperlinks at the bottom and that the main navigation menu is always on the top part of the page.