There is nothing more frustrating for customers than visiting a website and being unable to find what they are looking for. While some users may persist for a short time, the majority of users will ultimately leave a website if they cannot locate what they need.
When designing a website, either in-house or through a consultant, careful thought should be given to content. This will help pinpoint the essential components of the navigation menu.
Keep your customers in mind and think about how they will want to use your site. Create the content they want to see and then decide how to link them to it.
Consider the following to create a helpful navigation menu:
1. Keep Navigation Uncomplicated
When designing a navigation bar, avoid trying to get fancy. Being creative is a plus, but fonts should be readable, layouts should be logical and link names should be straightforward. Offer no more than seven options per navigation bar, because too many options will cut into readability and may lead to confusion. Also, keep page names as clear and as short as possible.
2. Create Navigation Based on Content
Website content should be developed first, so that it can be easily organized and structured before embarking on the design process. Always remember the three-click-rule, which says that most users will not click on more than three links to get to the information they want. So, every page on your website should be reachable within three clicks.
3. Choose Your Menu Location and Type Properly
The most common navigation locations are as follows:
' Top Menus: The menu bar is usually located directly below the page header graphic containing the site logo. These menu items may be single links, drop down menus, or expanding menus.
' Left Side Navigation: These are typically implemented as either a column or text area on the left top portion of the webpage. Like the top menu, each item can be a single link or an expanding menu.
' Right Side Navigation: Right side navigation is rarely used, but when it is, it is implemented as a column or text area on the top right side of the webpage.
' Bottom Menus: Bottom menus typically appear as either a menu bar or footer. Menu bars use either graphics or text links while footers almost exclusively use text links.
A good navigation system can increase the numbers of pages viewed by each visitor. In turn, this can increase signups, customers, sales, members and, of course, your bottom line.
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