Designing a website’s navigation is like laying a house’s foundation. If you won’t be able to plan that foundation properly, you are putting the entire building at risk of collapse no matters how good it looks. Similarly, when you want to reap the best of benefits and conversions from your website, you need to create a plan on establishing an efficient medium to interact with your potential client base and determine the most effective way to organise and put it in front.

Keep one thing noted – if you will miss any detail in this part, you risk losing a good section of the target audience.

Firstly, let’s understand the term Navigation in a little deep.

There’s always more than one way in considering any aspect. This seems quite a true with the concept of Navigation. It can be defined as the focal point of your website that helps customers to locate the things they are searching for without being distracted by unnecessary clicks or any other sort of confusions. It is arguably right to call navigation a gentle guidance to the customers towards the most important sections of your website for generating sales and revenue.

Both the definitions are true!

Designing Navigation is one of the many other things in a design. You can’t find a universally accepted right method to do it. Every website has some challenges to deal with, which can be taken care of in numerous ways. And, the good thing is there are a plenty of ways to think about structuring the content that will minimize the risk of failures.

site navigation design

Here’re Some Principles to Follow For Good Website Navigation

1) Distinct

Keeping it unique is a primary principle. Keep the elements visually separated and easy to locate. Don’t keep the contents in the same colour, size or font as that of the body text. Navigational text should always stand apart. For the buttons of the menu, using contrasting colours and legible text goes perfect match.

2) Simple

Don’t mix up the things for the sake of making it extraordinary. In fact, you should help visitors to quickly locate the available stuff. If you will make them think that it’s hard to find anything, you will tend to lose them. Follow the K.I.S.S. principle of design i.e. Keep It Simple, Stupid as simple things can be easily understood by anyone.

3) Uniformity

Make sure you have kept the model of navigation same in all your pages. It is a significant aspect as a break in consistency may make a user think that he/she stumbled upon some other website. Help your visitors by providing them a consistent order without making them feel confused.

4) Standard

Don’t use the uncommon navigation forms. If you will present something that people are already familiar with, they will be able to deal with it much easily. You can experiment the way you will represent, but be specific with the basic structure.

5) Clarity

Make sure you are providing the relevant menu contents so that customers can get an idea where to find what. Keep these terms simple and obvious. Don’t leave people with a puzzle as they won’t bother to resolve it. Putting the thing straightforward will be great. If exploring would not be a matter of seconds, it will contribute towards making user experience bad for the visitors.

6) Comprehensive

Gone is the time to use the generic terms such as Products or Services. Such terms have nothing to do in communication with visitors. Let your navigation define the main products and services so that you can create an instant communication with the potential customers. No customer will make a search on Product and Service; they will simply put the product name on the search engine and will seek information about it.

7) Succinct

Adding too many things into the main menu can split up the attention of visitors while you can add numerous links into the vertical navigation. It is even most preferable solution. Avoiding less significant elements makes the remaining ones more imperative. Drive user attention towards the prominent links.

8) Interactive

Any interaction is rated on the basis of feedback from the users. Make sure you are offering an indication of the action every time the visitors hover on the menu items. The difference can be indicated through a different colour or background  of the web page.

9) Organised

Be sure to reflect the most important items in the first place of the navigation bar and least important in the middle. People attention tends to move highest for the things that they can look on the top or at the bottom. For instance, the standard location for “Contact” is the end of the navigation bar.

10) Style

Web designing still follows the trend of minimalism and majority of web designers’ break down the navigation to the simplest layout. This looks fine if it doesn’t appears dull and follows the principle of being distinct and interactive.

A cool looking navigational menu also contributes for a pleasurable user experience but make sure the style matches to the website’s theme.

11) Well-Structured

Before planning the navigation, you need to figure out the prominent features that your website is offering. Prepare an information hierarchy for what’s important and what’s less important. The best solution here would be organising the content and make navigations its reflection.

12) Silence

Playing sound every time a user clicks or hover on the menu is simply not a solution. In fact, people don’t like such surprises. Sometimes sound fills in the interest, at the same time becomes annoying if you will use it for every click.

There are many more aspects that you need to pay attention like accessibility, responsiveness, visibility, animations, flawlessness, scalability etc. Above all, it should be tested. Ask your closed ones from friends and family to test the functionality of the navigation bar before making it live.

Bottom line

Navigation plays a vital role for good user experience and their prolonged engagement. As already discussed that every website has some challenges, you can deviate from the rules mentioned above as per the requirement. Keep testing and tweaking out the improvement areas through analytics.

Author Bio: Priya is a Technical SEO at Hopinfirst, a leading mobile app development company which provide best ios app development and Android app development Services.