5 Essential Rules For Effective Navigation Design
Designing the navigation of a website is akin to laying the foundation of a building. Any mistakes or faults in laying this foundation will bring down the building irrespective of how nice looking the house maybe. If you want your site to have high internet traffic and consequently better conversions, you need to prioritize on the kind of content interaction web visitors to your site will enjoy. As such, there is need to ensure that you identify the best intuitive approach to use in organizing and presenting the content. Web navigation simply aids your online audience in finding the content they are looking for in your website with much ease and with no confusion whatsoever.
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There are several rules that you need to put to consideration when developing a navigation design. These rules are:
1. Keep the design simple
Everyone who has used a website or an internet page to find specific information understands the importance of having a simple navigation design. This is because such a design not only makes it easy and fast to find content but also improves the overall usability of the website. Having a crowded design with lots of choices for users hampers the flexibility of the content and information in the website. To have a simple navigation design, categorize the content into a few large categories and then split each category into different sections.
2. Choose Orientation Carefully
Since a computer screen is commonly used in an upright (landscape) format, having a horizontal orientation is more sensible than having any other type of orientation for your navigation design. The best thing about this format is that it mostly feels less intrusive and well balanced, thus making it a favorite orientation for most internet users. In addition to this, a horizontal orientation allows users to scroll down your website when looking for content and information from your site.
3. Finalize the Information Architecture (IA) of your site first
The Information Architecture of a site is an overview of the content and information in a website. Therefore, before designing your site’s navigation, it is important that the site’s IA is finalized first. This is so that you can easily identify the best design to use depending on the type and nature of the content in the website. This is because the IA is the backbone to the website’s easy usability. More importantly, when you complete the IA first before developing your navigation design, you are able to have a feel of the content in the website from an audience’s perspective.
4. Keep It Consistent
A navigation design needs to be consistent in its appearance in every page of the website. This includes uniformity in type, colors, style and any other aspect. This is for purposes of ensuring that web users are comfortable when browsing different pages in the site looking for desired content and information. Additionally, the lack of consistence in the appearance of a navigation design can translate to a poor quality website which may in turn frustrate some of its users.
5. Use specific section names
When creating a navigation design, always avoid using obscure section names like tools and resources. Instead, use more specific names such as news, podcasts and other easily identifiable names. Since navigation will probably take the least space as compared to the other elements in the website, it needs to be unique and stand out on its own.
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