Website navigation is the basic foundation of your website. If it is not designed to function properly then it may bring all your efforts down no matter how attractive your website looks. It is essential to strategize the way in which your audience interacts with your website content in order to gain good sales or conversions.
For effective navigation, it is essential to implement an innovative way of organizing and presenting content to your target audience. Well planned navigation helps a business connect with its end users
Now let us explore more about what navigation is?
Navigation can be looked at through different ways. Navigation is a focal element, of your website, which lets visitors find exactly the information, they are looking for, as quickly as possible.
You can also view it as a way to guide your customers to the most important information, on your website, which drives sales or inquiries.
Navigation design plays a crucial role in website design. There is no standard way of doing it. Every website faces its own challenges which can be tackled in different ways. Through proper planning and thinking it is possible to organize content in the best possible manner.
1. At the Outset- Finalize Your IA
It is important to plan the organization of website content, especially for a large website. This task must be completed before the navigation design is finalized.
This process is known as IA or Information Architecture. A Clear understanding of your content is the basic foundation of your website’s usability.
Following are the points you need to consider before preparing the website scheme
- Pages required for the site
- The purpose of each webpage
- Content categorization and breakup
- Future scope for content addition
- User groups for the website
- Primary goal for users
Considering all the above aspects can clear your understanding of how your website content relates to your visitors and this forms the basis of an effective navigation design.
2. Simplicity Is Best
Most of the website visitors opine that the navigation area must be as easy as possible. A number of choices and crowding the navigation area with text is a big mistake as it can bring down your website usability.
Yet, simplicity is not as simple as the name suggests. On further investigation, you may find that what actually looks complex has been smartly packed in a simple way. This is nothing but IA working. Categorization and creating sections can help end users find information in a quick and easy way.
Use sub-pages as they serve as mini-sites. These sub-pages must have the navigation format which is akin to the original site. The menu must feel and look the same, but adjust itself to provide detailed information.
Packaging all the website information and presenting it in a simple manner demands hours of iterative development. A website having perfect navigation not only reassures the visitor but organizes information in a user-friendly manner.
3. Be Meticulous in Choosing Orientation
Traditionally, a computer screen has always been used in a landscape format. This makes it important to use horizontal navigation. From a design perspective, such navigation feels balanced and is less intrusive.
Horizontal scrolling makes lots of room for providing more information to the end user. However, when it comes to e-commerce vertical navigation makes more sense. It helps avoid stuffing the horizontal bar with unlimited text and options.
If you have a lot of products on your e-commerce site then you need to invest time in designing good vertical navigation. The icons and shapes used must be communicative and make the navigation area focused and neat. Sub-options must be neatly hidden behind menu categories.
Another option is to use navigation like a tab, which is offside the main content. All the user needs to do is scroll and click through.
4. Technology is Every Changing
The User experience differs as per the devices used. The expansion in the number and types of devices will always keep navigation cum website designers on their toes. There is no standard way of creating a website having perfect navigation.
However, adopting an iterative approach towards designing and testing along with access to website statistics and conversion data can help you get the desired results whilst enhancing user experience.
Navigation is the engine that drives your website. A spic and span, predictable, and consistent navigation design can help you get accolades for creating the most user-friendly website. And guess what the accolades will be, Augmented User experience, Increased traffic, and Improved conversion rates!