When designing a website, one important aspect that shouldn’t be neglected is website navigation. Here’s why it’s so important and how you can design an efficient and easy-to-navigate website.
1.Plan navigation with a sitemap
When designing a website, you need to be ready to plan ahead. Before you start working on your web design, determine what features and pages you will need to use for your website. Also, make sure to clarify what the hierarchy between these pages and features will be like. Do you also need to add a page About Us and the one for the FAQ section? If so, then which one of these pages holds more priority and value for your website?
In order to develop this hierarchy, most web designers create sitemaps. A sitemap needs to contain a list of all the main items of your user interface as well as all of the sub-categories that can be found within these main items. This will essentially form the base of your navigation menu. Once the users open up your website, they can easily see what categories and sub-categories are the most important for them as your visitors to access. They can see in which order your content is prioritised.
There are several easy methods you can use to create a sitemap. You can write it by hand, type it out on a spreadsheet, or present it as a diagram or flowchart.
2.Prioritise your pages
When you’re creating your website hierarchy system, you need to think about where you want to lead your visitors first. What page or feature do you want your visitors to notice first? Your goal will solely rely on what type of website you want to create. Here are a few additional guidelines that can help you determine your goals:
- How do you plan to direct your visitors through your funnel?
- What is the goal of visiting this website?
- Can visitors easily achieve this goal through your navigation menu?
- What piece of information on this website is of most value to you and your visitors?
These pages belong to your primary navigation and they need to appear as a part of your website’s main menu. This will make them as visible and easily accessible as possible.
3.Stick to conventions
It might be tempting to break the mould and try something new. However, at certain times it’s safer to just stick with conventions and practices that have already been proven efficient. There’s a reason why logos tend to be placed at the top of the website page either in one corner or the other. Hyperlinks appear blue for a good reason too. These design conventions and familiar patterns are put in place because they do what they’re supposed to do. They are efficient and they work fine.
When creating website navigation, you want to make it as smooth as possible for your visitors. You want them to be able to practically slide through your website with ease. So, while it is useful to show off your creativity and make your brand identity shine through the web design when it comes to navigation, you need to ensure clarity and functionality over aesthetics.
4.Implement a sticky menu
A sticky menu is also usually called a fixed or floating menu. The trick about this type of menu is that it stays put while you’re scrolling down the rest of your website. This is especially useful when it comes to long-scrolling web pages. Imagine having to scroll all the way up again just to access a new page. Instead, you can just switch between pages effortlessly while you’re scrolling down the website.
If not that, then you can use a feature that’s called the “Back to Top” button. This feature can also help your users save a lot of time. Both of these options are valid and work amazingly well for website navigation. The choice you make will mostly depend on the type of layout and web design you want to make. So, think about which option will be the most convenient both for your users and your overall web design and layout.
5.Limit the number of items in your menu
Try to keep your menu bar as minimalistic as possible. With a maximum of six or seven categories, your menu will be the perfect length for the visitors to process the information and reach the page they initially came here looking for.
If your website is overloaded with a bunch of unnecessary information, it will most likely put off most of the visitors. In case you have a lot of information on your site, try to break it down into smaller sections. This can be easily achieved with the dropdown menu option.
6.Optimize your website for mobile phones
Search engine optimization is all about optimising your website and content to get a better ranking in search engines. It gives your content more visibility and higher online traffic. There are many ways to successfully approach SEO and its many beneficial strategies, but did you know that navigation can also help you reach a wider audience online?
Nowadays, most people access websites on their phones. They usually want to check something on the go and it’s much easier to google it on the phone instead of using a laptop or computer. For that reason, you need to optimize your website for the phone users too and that means making the navigation as easy and smooth as possible for mobile phones. You need to make sure that the loading speed is high, your visitors can easily access your menu bar, and that they can easily find their way around your site without any errors and further complications. With the help of professional SEO services, you can design an efficient and easy-to-navigate webpage that can be accessed on all devices, including mobile phones.
7.Add a search bar
You also want your website to have a customised search bar. This feature will help your visitors find what they’re looking for more quickly and efficiently. All they have to do is type in the keyword of what they’re looking for and anything that includes that keyword or similar phrases will pop up. This is especially useful for visitors who don’t have much experience with surfing the web. Make sure to place the search bar somewhere close to the menu. That way it will be easily noticeable.
8.Link your logo back to your homepage
Lastly, not linking your logo back to your homepage is one of the most common mistakes in web design. Luckily, it can be avoided easily. Your menu doesn’t have to contain the word “Homepage”. You can simply add your brand logo at the top of every page and then link it to your homepage. That way, your visitors can go back to the home page whenever they want to with just one click. While most logos will appear on the left-hand side of the header, you can choose the placement of your own depending on what kind of layout your website has.
Overall, navigation is a very important aspect of your web design. If done right, your website navigation will help your visitors access all of the necessary information with ease. While the overall aesthetics of the web design may pull people in, they will stay for the efficiency and functionality of the website navigation.
Contact us at Grizzly to learn how we can help you with your website.