A website’s navigation has a bigger impact on success or failure than almost any other factor. It affects user experience, traffic flow, conversions, and search engine rankings. The important aspects of every website are connected to the navigation, including essential content, shopping carts, and contact forms.
Here we will show you the what constitute successful navigation:
Rule #1: Website visitors expect navigation to be easy to find
Sure you want your website to stand out from the norm, but website navigation that is hard to find, or in a strange place, will only confuse your visitors. Studies have shown that users look for horizontal navigation in the header or left-hand portions of a website. Main navigation that resides anywhere else is going to be overlooked and just plain confusing to the user.
Rule #2: Too many items in navigation is unreadable
We’ve all been to websites that have too many items in the left-hand navigation. If there are too many navigation items to choose from the user will most likely just give up and move on to another website. If you have a multitude of products or services, categorize them to make them digestible in a single viewing. If a user feels overwhelmed by your navigation, they will just move on.
Rule #3: Use navigation to highlight prominent features
Here are some more studies for you. Studies have shown that the first and last items in navigation are most effective. Don’t hide the prominent sections of your website in the middle of the navigation, place them first or last for prominence. Using contrast in color is also very effective to differentiate between primary and secondary navigation.
Rule #4: Make navigation items descriptive
Using generic navigation items such as “Who We Are” or “What We Do” sounds cute, but it is not effective for navigation. Use words and adjectives that describe your products or services. Navigation items “Sales Team” or “Marketing Pros” work much better that “Who We Are” or “What We Do”.