Well thought through navigation can make the difference between a visitor spending 30 seconds on your website or one hour. If your website navigation is too complex or poorly designed visitors will be put off quickly and may not decide to continue exploring your website. Therefore, by properly planning your website navigation, your visitor’s user experience will be improved significantly. This blog outlines some of the key reasons why you should keep navigation in mind when designing a website.
What is Website Navigation?
Website navigation refers to the way a visitor will access different sections of your website. This often includes features such as links and menus embedded in your website design.
What Different Types of Navigation are There?
There are a few different options websites opt for in terms of navigation. One is having a header at the top of the website, this is either fixed (staying on your screen as you scroll) or stationary (moving with your screen as your scroll – thus disappearing). Below is the Manchester United website’s homepage, as you can see there is a header with various titles. This allows visitors to easily navigate to sections of the website they are interested in.
Alternatively you could opt for a drop down menu. This is often signified by three horizontal lines or simply the word menu. When visitors click on this they are given various options for different areas of the website. This can be very effective if you want a more clean and simple look to your webpage. A menu option can also be better for mobile phone viewing of your website. Clothing retailers will often use these to section their website into women and mens, as in this example of the Pull & Bear website.
Some websites combine both together to create multiple navigation options. See Gourmet Burger Kitchen’s homepage below, where the top bar menu opens up into a translucent extra menu without taking you off the homepage.
So Why is Navigation Important?
Navigation that has been well thought out can be very effective in gaining more interest in your website. There are a variety of reasons for this:
Increased Duration of Visit – navigation that is easy to understand and use, will increase the amount of time visitors spend on your website. If a visitor can access the different areas of your website they were looking for easily, there is a higher chance of them staying on your website longer.
Increased Chance of Sales – more time spent on your website means visitors are exposed to your products/services for a longer period of time. Therefore, if your website is being used to sell products, navigation can be particularly important in increasing sales.
Improved User Experience – an easy to use navigation system on your website makes using your website a more enjoyable experience. Therefore, visitors will be more likely to spend more time on your website and they are more likely to revisit your website.
Good Design – navigation and website design go hand in hand. The style of navigation you choose can alter how your website is viewed by visitors. Therefore, ensuring that your choice of navigation fits in well with the rest of your website design is extremely important.
The best websites will have thought through various factors before they decide on the type of navigation that works best for them. Some questions to ask yourself are:
- What kind of products/services are you selling? What is the best way to organise them?
- Can you group your products/services/content under umbrella themes or titles?
- How many titles do you need?
- If there are many titles would a drop down menu be easier?
- Which type of navigation would fit in best with your website design?
- Who is your target audience?
- Does your navigation style work on a mobile phone or tablet?
If you consider these questions before creating your website you will create the best navigation for your products/services/content. When thinking about them, always try and have the fewest number of titles possible, as too many make your site look cluttered and confusing to navigate.
Still unsure? Take a look at these examples of the best types of navigation. Many website builders will also have many different options that you can experiment with.
If you are looking for a good website builder for your company, then look no further than Go Sitebuilder! Our simple design means you can have a professional looking website up and running in minutes. With different types of navigation there are so many options for your new website, and with Go Sitebuilder you can rest assured that all our websites are fully optimised for both desktop, tablet and mobile devices, regardless of the navigation style you choose. Try our 14-day free trial today.