The look of your website, the content, the way it all ties together, all that’s crucial to its success, but with all the new devices and platforms out there now, none of it’s as important as your site’s navigation.
We’ve been in website design in NY and NJ for years and take it from us, if the navigation’s even slightly unclear or confusing, people will leave before spending even a moment trying to decipher it. So, read on for a few tips to help you to ensure that’s not the case.
1. Make sure user needs come first.
For your site’s navigation to be user-friendly, it must be developed with the user in mind at all times. It sounds simple enough, but we’ve been doing website design in NJ and NY for a while now and it seems to be something that slips a lot of site builder’s minds.
And if you don’t start the process thinking primarily about the intent and needs of the visitor and instead put your own objectives first, you’ve already failed.
How will visitors want to transition from one page to the next? Where will they likely expect links to be? What language in terms of your content marketing would speak to them best? What pages will they want to navigate to most and which are most helpful in terms of your mission?
The point is, you need to ask yourself the right questions when it comes to developing your site’s navigation, and those questions should all involve the user, primarily.
2. Don’t put visual appeal above usability.
With all the visual possibilities in website building now, it’s no surprise that so many site builders get carried away with that side of things at the expense of the site’s usability.
You don’t want to make the same mistake. Nothing should ever trump the site’s usability, so when developing your site’s navigation, make sure you prioritize usability ahead of all else, even the visual effects, at all times.
The general design and layout isn’t the only issue either. Visual elements like images, videos, infographics, and animations can take a while to load too, and that won’t help your site’s usability at all.
3. Consider contrast and consistency.
Contrast is key to ensuring that any and all important pieces of content, buttons, links, etc., are easy to see and use. Again, there are so many visual possibilities in site design now that it’s easy to get carried away.
So, make sure to keep contrast in mind for navigational purposes and, from there, keep all your navigational practices consistent throughout all pages of your site.
You need to think of it as part of your brand identity, not just so that users won’t have to figure out how to navigate each page of your site, but also to give them something else to remember you and your site for.
Lastly, make sure your site is easily navigable from any and everywhere.
Again, one of the main reasons that site navigation is more important than ever is that there are more possible devices and platforms for it to be accessed from than ever before, which is why you need to make sure your site’s usability translates well.
And some aspects, such as visual clutter, become even more critical on mobile devices with their smaller screens, but the bottom line is that your site’s navigation needs to be on point on every possible device. We hope these tips help.
About Us: Climb The Search, a leader in SEO and website design in NJ / NY, offers the total search marketing package, including inbound marketing, search engine optimization, and social media marketing. At CTS, we help businesses grow, every single day.