5 ways to improve your website navigation
Being able to easily navigate on a website are one of the keys to success when it comes to usability. Too many clicks will get visitors to leave your site. That’s not your dream scenario, is it? In this article, we will give you 5 tips on how to improve navigation on your website.
A good menu navigation help users find their way through a site in a simple and intuitive way. Your users should always know where they are on the site, where they have been, and where they are going.
1. Create a map of your site
One of the first things you should do when creating a website is to plan it’s architecture. How many different pages are there – and how do you link between them? To get an overview of this it’s a good idea create a map, also called a sitemap. This will help you get a visual structure on how every page on your site are linked. Below are some examples:
2. Make sure your main navigation is visible
The main navigation consists of your site’s most important pages – the pages you really want users to visit. In able to make that happen, it’s important to highlight these pages. There are a few different ways of doing this, but the main one – I would say – is to make a navigation bar at the top that stands out from the rest of the page. You may think that this sounds like a very standard – or even boring – approach! But it works. One of the reasons for that is that we are already so used to finding the primary navigation at the top.
But who isn’t to say you can’t make “boring” look cool? There are plenty of ways to make your navigation menu look modern while still logical and intuitive. Just take a look at some of these awesome websites:
The Beekman has a thick navigation bar at the top and uses the website’s color palette to highlight the current page.
EESSOO has a more subtle – but still visible – navigation bar at the top. It especially stands out from the other elements is because it’s surronded by space.
3. Categorize your content
This is especially important on heavy content sites and retail sites with many different products. Take IKEA for instance. Since they have so many different products, it’s key that they divide their products into categories. This is so that users can easily find what they are looking for. Like this:
Here, IKEA has listed up all categories in a full-screen submenu, with new submenus for each category, making it simple and easy to understand.
LUSH also has a lot of different products, and have made a tidy overview with this full-screen submenu
4. Show visitors where they are
One of the most annoying things when browsing a website is getting lost. Especially on sites with many different pages. With good, thought-through navigation you can make sure this doesn’t happen to your visitors. There are different ways of doing this. One of them is using breadcrumbs, which is a visible trail of the pages visited – like this:
Nelly.com uses a “breadcrumb trail” to show visitors where they are on the page, and which path they took to get there. This works very well on sites with many different pages – like Nelly.com
This site has a very elegant and fun way of showing visitors where they are. They have a talent for including fun in website navigation, which can be an important key to making visitors stay on the site.
5. Responsive design
Responsive design is all about giving the visitor a good experience either they are using a laptop, ipad or any kind of smartphone. It’s common to minimize the navigation menu on smaller devices. This is normally done by using a hamburger icon that expands on click.
In the last couple of years, it has become more and more common to use a hamburger menu both on small devices and desktop. On sites that are quite content-light, this can be a good idea. Here are some examples:
Bikebear makes their hamburger menu stand out by adding some “glow” to it and surrounding it with lots of whitespace. You don’t have to look long to find this menu.
By using a strong color behind their hamburger menu, Inventas make sure it’s easy to find.
Navigation is one of the most important things to focus on when it comes to websites. If you want traffic on your site, make sure it’s easy for visitors to stay there – and do the actions you want them to do. So, what are the most important things to focus on again?
1. Create a map of your site – gives you with control over your entire site and how it’s connected
2. Visible navigation menu
3. Make categories – especially on heavy-content sites
4. Always show visitors where they are
5. Make sure your navigation works perfectly on all devices