A Complete Guide to Website Navigation
A website is like a city—both need to be organized logically and built strategically so people don’t get confused. Your sitemap and structure are the backbones of excellent web navigation serving as your blueprints. Each site contains layers of navigational elements such as menus, icons, and footers that direct visitors from one website to the next.
Simple, straightforward navigation will give your guests a smooth experience where they can easily navigate from page to page, whatever action you wish to take. You may have beautiful content and stunning images, but you may lose guests along the way if the website is confusing to navigate.
Efficient navigation will significantly affect the popularity of your website—from the number of time users spend on your site to your SEO rankings and more. Discover the essentials of excellent navigation here, and learn how to do it on your website.
The Basics of Great Website Navigation
Not only does the website look amazing, but it should also sound good too. Excellent navigation can lead visitors back time and time again. Remember the ambitions of the customers and strive to work out the smoothest way to get them there. Next, we’ll dig into the website menus and try out other features that help the website navigate easily.
The menu navigation bar is the bread and butter of the website design, and there are several types of navigation bars that you can select based on the style of the website and you need them. Your menu should be available and open to your users—don’t make them hunt. Make sure all the essential pages are available from your menu. Below, explore the various menu styles to determine which menu is better tailored to your site.
The Horizontal Navigation Bar is one of the most simple and common navigation bars in web design. The navigation menu bar is placed at the top of the website with the primary web pages listed. These names or logos of your website should be clear so that the user knows that these are the essential pages of your website. Commonly, drop-down menus come hand in hand with horizontal bars as they help save screen space. However, long drop-down menus with so many choices can make it impossible for consumers to look at all the options at one glance.
Due to the horizontal bar’s frequent usage, the vertical navigation bar has become a surprise twist. Vertical menus give off a streamlined interface effect and make you play in a wide-open space on the rest of your screen. You won’t have to think about running out of the space over the top of your list, either. With a vertical menu, you can add more pages, making it a brilliant option for long menu websites. Although horizontal menus appear better when all page names are equal in length, name lengths matter less for vertical menus, making them a good choice for websites with page names of different lengths.
But vertical menus are not correct for any website. Research has found that people naturally read from left to right, are more likely to glance at lists that appear horizontally, and prefer to press on the page’s right-hand side. We’re habit people, so be mindful that certain guests might find vertical menus mildly disorienting.
An anchor menu is an excellent tool for one-page websites or long pages where a lot of scrolling is required. Anchor helps the visitor click on the menu item and instantly drop down to where it appears on the list. They are an excellent navigation tool for websites with a lot of content. Anchor links allow your website visitors to easily access helpful information without having to scroll up, down, or move to another page. Learn how to add anchor links to the Wix website.
Introducing the hamburger menu, also known as the sidebar menu, is composed of three stacked lines that must be tapped on to view the page menu on your site. The hamburger menu theory is that it naturally makes more room on the homepage when accessed from a mobile site. Criticism of the hamburger menu involves a lower discoverability rate—or, in other words, many people could actually not appreciate the need to click on it.
Since it is less obvious, it also proves to be less effective. However, if your guests seem to be more web-savvy, the hamburger menu can be a perfect way to place all the attention on the page—while believing that your visitors will know how to work around the menu.
More Great Navigation Features
You never want your guest to get lost about where he or she is when visiting your website—and it’s easy to keep your guests updated about their actual location. Breadcrumb navigation is mostly used on pages with a vast volume of content. Breadcrumb appears as a highlighted link, and it’s a simple way for visitors to search your page, enabling them to sort content while easy how to get back home.
A sticky menu is a particular interface feature where the menu is locked (stuck) no matter where you connect to the website. Instead of spending time going back to the top of the web page to navigate the menu icon, you already have an easily available menu that speeds up your navigation experience.
Website Page Names
When explaining pages on your menu, be as descriptive as possible while keeping it simple. Often static explanations of websites, including Images, won’t give the users the answers to their questions. The primary objective of each page should be transparent to the consumer. ‘Videos’ just defines the structure of the website rather than the content of the page. Using only one word to your page titles will tell your guests what they need to hear. E.g., try ‘Testimonial Videos.’ This offers the customer a more detailed overview of what they can hope to see.
Websites also connect words or phrases to external and internal pages to provide visitors with more detail. The nature of these hyperlinks is to help your users—make sure they are highlighted, so your users know where to press. This can be adequately achieved by underlining or changing the hue of your related text.
Let’s presume you wrote a blog post about a new product in your online shoe shop. In the phrase: “Our brand new boots are made of 100% fair trade leather from local suppliers,” you may want to add “local suppliers” to your leather supplier’s website. By opting to connect “local suppliers,” the reader would have a clear idea of where the link leads—and can press if they want to learn more.
Buttons may sound like a prominent feature for excellent navigation, but using them cleverly isn’t that easy. Use buttons sparingly—don’t overcrowd the website with buttons that link to several sites. Buttons can stand out from your website and look clickable, which indicates that you can play with contrasting colors, borders, and key text, implying that this feature is ‘action-based.’ Shop Now, Sign Up, or Subscribe are, of course, common choices.
Great navigation is essential to give your guests a great deal of experience on your website. Check your friends and family navigation website and see how they can easily find pages or content on your website. The benefit of working on a site is that nothing is definitive. Change, edit or integrate plugins and features that can help enhance the user experience on your website. And don’t be afraid to change things. Small tweaks could make a huge difference.