Much of the advice that web designers impart to their clients relates to user experience. With user experience (UX) playing such a prominent role in Google’s ranking algorithm, it is essential that your business’s website has optimised UX if it has any chance of improving its search engine rankings. In addition, without a great UX, those visiting your website will not stay long, nor take any desired actions.
Thankfully, many ways exist to ensure the UX that your website offers is excellent, and prime amongst them is the navigation. Having optimal navigation is essential on websites, as not enabling visitors to move easily between your website pages means poor UX for them.
Imagine driving into a strange city where numerous roadblocks are preventing easy travel, and the street signs are non-existent. You will not have many good words to say about it and likely leave quickly. That analogy is replicated on lots of poorly designed websites that have poor or non-existent navigation.
So, if you want to maximise the UX offered by your website, it requires the best possible navigation. Outlined below are 10 tips that, if followed when your website is being designed, will ensure visitors can navigate easily within it, and enjoy the great user experience that every well-designed website should provide.
Create Navigation Menus Using A Sitemap: Best practice when designing a website and its navigation menus is to use a sitemap. This can be done freehand, using mind map software, or a spreadsheet.
Give Each Of Your Pages A Priority Level: Your website should have a hierarchy that identifies which pages are the most important, especially within your sales funnel. Those with the greatest importance should be on the top menu.
Do Not Reinvent The Wheel: Your navigation should not be groundbreaking. In other words, stick to web design conventions regarding menu layout and their use, to avoid confusing visitors.
Use A Sticky Menu That Appears On Every Page: Also known as a “floating” menu, this is the best practice of having the menu appear on every occasion a visitor lands on any page of your website.
Keep Your Menu Items To A Minimum: The key to great website navigation is simplicity, so it is always preferable if you limit the number of items that appear in each menu and sub-menu.
Include A Search Option: To give visitors a quicker, and arguably easier way to find something on your website, include a search option so they can look for information and click through to it directly.
Clearly Label Each Menu Item: Each menu item’s label should have no ambiguity as to where it will take a visitor if clicked. Use one or two words at most and if necessary use sub-categories.
Include A Link To Your Homepage In Your Logo: Every page should display a homepage button so that users can return there when they wish to. In addition, best practice states that your logo should be linked to your homepage too.
Identify What Page The Visitor Is On: The opposite of our city analogy earlier on, means you should signpost every page so that each time a visitor lands on one, they know what the page is and what it is about.
Enable Navigation From Each Page To Every Other Page: Finally, your menu should be set up in such a way that it is possible to navigate from any page on your website to every other page on your website within a couple of clicks.