The Modern Rules of Website Navigation
Small things create big difference and these little things multiply to create a bigger output i.e. business revenue. Website Navigation is a great example for this. The structure and labels of your navigation can have a huge impact on results. Here’s why –
Website Navigation affects traffic and conversions and the modern rules of website navigation are all about making your website easily accessible to the user community.
Other than that, website navigation is a very important part of the WCAG 2.0 Guidelines.
Website Navigation and Search
If you’re travelling to a new place and you already have a list of the places you want to visit, what you would do is look up the places on the map and visit them. But if you haven’t made a list of the places you would want to visit, then you would be casually walking around and finding places of your interest.
Similarly, there are two kinds of users in the user community, users who know what they want and users who want to browse around.
In such a case, a search bar functionality needs to be there on the website header to make it easy for users to find what they want easily without having to browse around for it.
We have an easy way out when it comes to designing the search functionality – Dynamic Expandable Search Bars. They are not only easy for the users to use, but they also save you a ton of space.
Other than that, there are a couple of reasons you should be using the search functionality within your website.
- People who use the traditional navigation method are those who are looking around on your website and exploring the options.
- People who use the search box are people who have already made up their mind on what they want to or buy from your website. The ones who use the search functionality are usually in the last stage of the customer journey – the buying stage.
- The search box is also a savior when the users consider themselves lost within your website.
Studies from the Nielsen group say that more than 50% of the people visiting a start page on a website go straight to the internal search box in order to navigate.
How to ensure proper website navigation for better UX
Fewer Choices on the Header
The header shouldn’t be cluttered with way too many headings. The main headings should not account to anything more than 7. Everything else can be categorized within the headings.
Different Color for Anchor Text
The anchor text containing the hyperlink should be of a different color. The color of the hyperlink should change if the user has clicked on it previously.
The header should remain same on all the pages of the website. It shouldn’t change from page to page since that would confuse the user.
Sticky Navigation Bar
A sticky navigation bar is what remains where it is no matter how much you scroll. This lets the users navigate through the navigation bar whenever they want, without having to scroll all the way up to view the navigation bar. Lazy Loading can save your day when it comes to infinite scrolling.
To The Point Text
Long texts hinder quicker user understanding and eventually lengthens the decision-making process of a user. Hence it is necessary that the navigation bar doesn’t contain long texts.
Mega Drop-Down Menus
Mega drop-down menus are those that show the users all the existing subcategories. This menu drops down when a user hovers on it or clicks it.
Go Old -School with the Navigation Bar Placement
I get it – you want to be creative and innovative. But the placement of the Navigation Bar is not somewhere you use your creativity and end up placing it in a way that the users would have to hunt around for it.
Navigation needs to be concise for your website to be SEO friendly. The more concise your navigation on the website, the likelier it is that the home page authority moves on to the inner pages and the ranking of your website goes up.
Everything in the navigation menu should be in order. Anything that is on the top and on the bottom, is likely to get more attention compared to what’s kept in the middle. So, make sure that what holds the most importance is kept either on the top or on the bottom.
The color of the page the user is on should be highlighted from other headings by a different background color. This will make it easier for the user to figure out the page he is on.
Next Step Suggestions
‘Next Step’ should be suggested to the users when they finish a task so that they get to know about the next step they would be taking.
A recent history of all what the users have viewed or browsed through should be available to them. This will let a user know about the things that he has previously browsed and he can easily visit that page without excessive browsing.
‘Jump to this’ section
There should be a table of content available on the website that consists of the subheadings. These subheadings should be in clear context and should be clickable so that the users can merely click on the subheading in the table of content to skip to that section on that page.
Vertical Slide Out Navigation
The vertical slide out navigation would be a better option for website navigation since it can look clean even if the subheadings are long.
Top Stories Carousel
The top stories carousel is not only trending and useful, but is also a space saver while being informative. Ever since the emergence of Google AMP, a significant increase in the top stories carousel has been noticed.
Website Navigation, as we know, is the most important part of an effective web design.
If users won’t be able to tour your website, how would they be able to know about anything and everything that your website has to offer.
The above mentioned tips will help you let users navigate around your website easily, eventually leading to a boost in conversions. Website Navigation gives you the chance to offer users an experience that they wouldn’t forget.
Thus, the modern rules of website navigation should be followed to give your website visitors a better user experience.
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