The rules of effective website navigation

A success of a website is basically determined by its navigation. User-friendly navigation system is undoubtedly a key component of any site, it’s a so-called gateway through which visitors are guided to all sections of the content. Therefore, there are certain rules which should be followed in order to design it effectively.

Navigation system should be easy to use and find. That’s a key rule. Nobody is going to spend long on a website where it’s unclear how to find a way around. I will repeat once again, navigation should be prominent. As a rule it doesn’t take a lot of space and that’s another reason why it should be designed in a way so that web users can easily find it in the sea of the rest content. The most popular trend is to locate a navigation bar on the top of the page. And it’s understandable. I’d recommend you to do the same is you don’t want to make your web users scroll down endless pages.

Navigation system should also be consistent. If you’ve located your navigation bar in one place, make sure it appears in the same area throughout the entire site. It should be designed in the same color, font size and style. By doing so you will help your visitors to feel more comfortable on the site and get used to it. If people get lost on the site, you’ve got a very little chance to see them come back to it in future.

Navigation system should speak for itself. By saying this, I mean, all the sections should have relative names that would identify the content behind them. Use obvious button names. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. “News”, “Podcasts” won’t puzzle your customers but give a clear understanding to where they are and what they are doing there.

If you want to provide your visitors with user-friendly navigation system, stick to the rule – less is more. Having too many navigation buttons leading to various sections may leave a user with too many choices and unclarity to what to do and where to click. If the navigation is not defined, a user may simply get lost. The common rule is to locate three navigation bars, one with main sections, another one for user accounts and the last one for legal disclaimers. Obviously, web users get used to such system and come to the site with certain expectations. As an advice, I wouldn’t recommend to go against the stream.

An efficient navigation system should always remind users where they’ve come and what sections they navigate through.The best way to do that is to highlight a sector where a user is. You can do it by changing the color or increasing the font size. If website sections have got more than one page, leave your audiences an option to be able to come back to the homepage.



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