Whenever people want to know more about something, they google it. There are numerous websites which can help people find what they’re looking for. If your website is not easy to navigate, people will leave and defect to your competitors. Therefore, it’s necessary to identify certain navigational elements on your website. Here, we provide useful tips on how to create excellent web navigation.
What Is Website Navigation?
To put it simply, website navigation refers to the way of flowing from one page to another. It uses internal links so that visitors can navigate with ease through different parts of a website. According to the 3-click rule, if users cannot find what they want within 3 clicks, they’ll get frustrated. The easier your website is to use, the more visitors convert into leads. So, in order not to lose your visitors, you should focus on your website navigation. Also, it has a great impact on your user experience. When created in the right way, people will come back and may even subscribe to your newsletter.
Types of Web Navigation
When it comes to web navigation, there are three types of navigation you can use on your website. Depending on your content and your target audience, you can choose any of the following types.
1. Horizontal Navigation Menu
Horizontal menu is one of the most popular types of navigation. As its name suggests, horizontal navigation refers to a horizontal list containing different parts of a website. Small websites often consist of a horizontal representation of the major pages that visitors expect to see. It allows your target audience to easily access what they’re looking for.
2. Dropdown Menu
Dropdown menus enable you to display a large number of options in a single section. It helps you keep your website organized so that your target audience can easily find what they want. If you offer a large number of services, dropdown menus are the perfect choice for your website. Since they can display so many items at once.
3. Vertical Sidebar
Despite horizontal menus where each section is generally named in one or two words, vertical sidebars consist of longer titles. Although they’re not as popular as previous types of navigation, they can be pretty beneficial. You can display so many options with long titles. In other words, you can provide links to different sub-sections of your website. This way, users can visit any webpage they want and easily navigate through your website.
4. Hamburger Menu
The hamburger menu, aka three-line menu, is a great way for building a responsive website. You can use a hamburger menu so as not to overwhelm your users with too many choices. Thanks to hamburger menus, multiple items collapse so your website can still look good on smaller screens. Since there’s not enough space on mobile screens, hamburger menus are widely used in mobile web design. But as these menus are hard to reach, they have lower click rates.
5. Footer Navigation Menu
Footer navigation menus are also pretty common. They contain more detailed information including blog, newsletter and social media links. In fact, when users don’t find what they’re looking for, they go directly to the footer. Footer navigation menus enable users to access different parts of a website. This has a great impact on your website usability.
Web Navigation Best Practices
Now that you’re quite familiar with the definition of navigation and its different types, let’s dive deeper into the subject. As mentioned above, website navigation greatly affects your user experience. If people cannot quickly find your contact information on your website, they’ll leave immediately. Therefore, no matter how useful your content is, users can’t navigate through your website. Here are some design tips for optimizing your website navigation.
1. User-friendly Language
As you know, the content of a website plays an important role in grabbing the audience’s attention. Try not to use the routine labels we see everywhere. Instead, be creative and use simple terms and sentences. Most importantly, you should know your target audience. This helps you use a language they’re most familiar with. Your labels must be clear enough so that your website visitors can understand where they are and where they’re going. In order to figure out which labels users are most comfortable with, you can run an A/B test. Just bear in mind that you should follow established standards, otherwise your website won’t be easy to use.
2. Link Your Logo to Your Homepage
Many people use this technique in order to improve their website navigation. Users often expect to find your logo in the upper-left corner of every page. Linking your logo to your homepage enables users to easily go back to their starting point. Although it’s pretty easy to implement, there are still some websites which refuse to employ this technique.
3. Avoid Dropdown Menus
Dropdown menus can be confusing. To create smooth user flows, it’s better to use a horizontal navigation menu or a vertical sidebar. Since they enable users to easily browse through multiple pages of your website. Dropdown menus have a negative impact on your website usability. Also, search engines can hardly crawl these menus.
4. Add a Fat Footer
As we said earlier, footers are pretty popular. Every website has a footer so as to display their address details and social media links. In fact, whenever users want to see the contact information or the blog, they go directly to the footer. Adding a fat footer to your website allows you to provide helpful links for your visitors.