Don’t Get Lost in Website Navigation
Posted on October 9, 2009
Good navigation design is essential for every website. If you want your website to be explored, it is critical that you have simple and easy-to-use navigation. If your visitors can’t find what they’re looking for, they’ll get lost, frustrated, and eventually leave to explore other areas of the Internet. To design better website navigation, there a few simple steps to take.
Establish a Crossroads
Your website’s home page should act as a crossroads for your website, telling your visitors where they can go and how they can get there. This is usually done with a navigation bar set to the top or side of your webpage.
Besides keeping the same look and feel throughout your web site, you’ll also want to keep your navigation consistent. If you have a navigation bar at the top of your home page, keep your navigation in the same spot on all your other pages. This will make it clear and easy for the visitor to go to a different part of the website or back to your home page without repeatedly hitting the back button or getting lost.
Although it may be tempting give your web page links cute or clever names, you might confuse your visitors. It’s best to give your links clear, concise labels.
Navigate with Text as well as Images
Never rely exclusively on icons for your navigation. Without a label to give the icon context, your links can easily be misinterpreted. Also, some people surf with images turned off or with text-only browsers. With text navigation (usually found at the bottom of a website) and “ALT” text in your images, every visitor will be able to navigate your web page.
While there are many different formats and styles for website navigation, it’s important that you provide your visitor with a simple and easy way to explore your website.
– Tony Darrick Baker & K. L. Russell