5 Website Navigation Principles Every Website Should Follow

We are witnessing the evolution of modern web design

Witnessing the evolution of web design

People often lose sight of their primary objectives when they are creating a new website. They often try to create a very flashy website to impress their users, which is often a mistake by itself. However, the emphasis on brilliant imagery often leads to other mistakes. According to Mashable and Open Forum contributor Grace Smith, the biggest mistake they make is having poor user navigation.

User Navigation Should Be a Top Priority

Many business owners seem to be suffering from cognitive dissonance when it comes to creating website navigation. A study from Econsultancy found that 95% of respondents felt that providing a great user experience was the sensible thing to do. However, navigation problems are extremely common, which can ruin the user experience, lead to a high bounce rate and cause conversion rates to plummet.

While you are designing a website, you need to be aware of all of the best user navigation practices. Here are some things that you can do to provide a higher quality experience to your users. You can use the tools on this site to create an ideal navigation structure while designing a website.

Use a Standard Menu Layout

People have become accustomed to a common menu navigation structure. They are used to seeing vertical navigation bars on the left side of the page and horizontal navigation near the top. The reason that menus are used in these spots is that it is easiest for people to find. Since it has become the standard, modern website visitors are even more likely to look for them there.

Offer a Variety of Navigation Options

Every website visitor behaves differently. You will need to provide a variety of navigation options to make it easier for them to find content. You should enable visitors to find content through an onsite search engine, browsing categories and navigating through your menu. Each of your navigation options should be easy to use.

Tell Users Before Displaying New Types of Content

You may offer a number of different content formats to your viewers. If you are about to display a .pdf or any other non HTML style content, then you should notify them in advance. This allows them to avoid wasting their time trying to view content that they can’t access if they have Adobe Acrobat or other necessary software.

Maintain Consistency

One of the most important elements of user navigation is consistency. Your users will have an easier time navigating your site if you use the same framework throughout.

Don’t Use Dropdown Menus

A variety of studies from the NN Group found that Internet users generally hate dropdown menus. There appear to be a couple of reasons that they aren’t ideal. First of all, your visitors need to spend a lot of time searching for content. They also have to deal with the annoying fact that the menu disappears if they lift their mouse button or accidentally click elsewhere. Try to create a uniform user navigation menu that includes all important elements.

About the Author: Kalen Smith

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