How To Create User Friendly Website Navigation
An often overlooked part of website design involves the creation and placement of your website’s navigation links. If your links are badly placed, your visitors may become frustrated and leave your website before ever finding what they are looking for. If your links are badly labeled, your visitors may become hesitant to click, leaving portions of your website unread. Luckily, there are many ways to make your website’s navigation more user friendly to your visitors. Here are four suggestions to get you started:
1: Choose the best location for your navigation
As they say, location, location, location. Location is everything. Be sure that your navigational links can be easily found by those who visit your website. Most visitors won’t search through a confusing menu to find what they are looking for, so it’s always best to display your links in an previous location. This will help everyone better explore your website, and get to where they want to be.
Common ways to display a website’s navigational links include:
- Horizontally across the top of the page
- In a vertical column near the top right or top left
For website with large scrollable web pages, a second set of links near the bottom of the page can also be helpful.
2: Use the same menu throughout your website
Once you have chosen the best place to display your links, it is important to maintain this position consistently through the rest of your website. When users are looking for a specific page, and they find that the location has changed, they often become frustrated.
3: Label your navigation in an easy to understand way
Whether you are using images, text, or a combination of the two- it is important to use graphics or labels that can be easily understood by your website’s visitors. There should be NO confusion as to where any of the links in your navigation will lead.
Displaying poorly labeled links can be confusing for your visitors, which can ultimately lead to your visitors prematurely leaving your website. This can produce less page view per visit and even cost you potential sales. You wouldn’t want that, so label things properly!
4: Ensure that each link is working properly
The final stage in the creation of a website’s navigation should always be testing that each link functions correctly. When clicked, do each of the links redirect to the proper page? Do the links appear correctly during each of the four links states: un-visited, hovered, active, and visited? Testing that each link is working correctly can be a very time consuming task, but it is still and essential part of your website’s navigation process.
Your website might contain some of the most useful and unique content of the internet, but without properly created navigational links, your visitors (and potential clients) will never find it. By taking the extra time to create more intuitive navigation, your visitors will enjoy a more user friendly experience while surfing through your website’s pages.