Websites 101: NavigationOct 6th, 2009 6:10 pm
Good navigation is the key to having a website that gets used. Our goal at Avallo is for the visitor to get to any page from any page. Although there are always exceptions to this rule, we try to adhere to it.
If navigation is not easy to use, the user will leave your website very quickly. I believe that navigation is the most important part of a functional and accessible website. As the owner and creative director of Avallo, I do not program sites - my staff does. But I always make sure our clients websites adhere to the fundamentals below:
- Navigation should stay in one place on every page - and be highly visible. Having a navigation that changes its position whenever you click on a link is off-putting, and can confuse some users. By having the navigation a static element on your site, your users can easily and quickly find what they are looking for.
- Make your navigation intuitive. Don't try to redefine navigation. Users that are first coming to your site need to be able to instantly navigate your website.
- Keep the description of the page it is linking to short and concise. "Our Services" and "About Us" are clear descriptions of the information that your user may be looking for. Images or obscure references might not be clear to users, not to mention that they are not search-engine friendly. For that reason, the links should always be text, not images.
- Have a reasonable number of links on your main navigation. If you have more links, consider using a sub-navigation or a drop-down navigation to include more pages. This allows users to find information quickly, and to navigate to any page of your website from any other page, and provides a cleaner and more functional website.
- Large sites need a SEARCH box.Having a search box allows the user to choose what they would like to see, but having a bad coding behind the search box is not only an annoyance, it also will stop users from exploring your site. The search box should be able to find things even if they are spelled wrong. Narrowing a search should be an option if appropriate.
While every website is different, Avallo sticks to these guidelines when developing a website. Not only does following these guidelines make the website functional and accessible to all users, but it also makes the website very search-engine friendly. Keeping the users in mind is key when developing a website, and navigation is no exception.
Avallo has blank site maps to help map your website - including navigation. Call me for a free consultation to get your website redesign or brand new site on the right navigation track.