14 Tips On How To Design User-Friendly Website Navigation
One of the most common mistakes that negatively affect the usability of a website is an overly complex navigation system. When creating the website architecture, keep in mind that «the simpler the better» always works. If the search for information is not difficult, then the likelihood of placing an order on your site will increase significantly.
It is important to make it clear to the visitor where he is currently located, where he can go next and where he came here from. To prevent your potential customers from getting lost on your website, you need to use a variety of navigation elements.
Now we will share with you 14 proven ways to create convenient navigation on your website to make your visitors stay on your website longer!
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- 1 Link your logo to the home page
- 2 Think through primary and secondary navigation elements
- 3 Think which pages you can group
- 4 Use additional website elements
- 5 Create a menu for a one-pager
- 6 Create a fixed website menu
- 7 Use pop-up tooltips
- 8 Highlight the active menu item for pagination
- 9 Add indicators (dots) to determine the visitor’s location
- 10 Show the loading and scrolling process
- 11 Highlight a button for an important action
- 12 Hide some of the content
- 13 Add the «Go Up» navigation button
- 14 Create a friendly page URL
Link your logo to the home page
This is a typical solution that everyone uses today: when you click on the company’s logo anywhere on the website, you find yourself on the top of the website’s main page. Therefore, if you are still using the “Home” button, feel free to remove it from the menu and do not forget to add a link to your logo.
The top menu may be the primary navigation element, and the side menu, along with the additional links in the footer and breadcrumbs may the secondary navigation elements.
Add links to the most important sections of the site to the main menu.
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Think which pages you can group
It’s a good option if everything you need does not fit in the top (or side) menu. For example, you can often find an option when some sections of the site are hidden under one button «Additional Information», «Read More», etc.
Use additional website elements
Consider additional elements like «Related Products», «Recommended Content» or «Related Articles» to help the user quickly find what he’s looking for.
The menu can also be a navigation element within the same page when you create a landing page or a page with an endless scroll.
Since there is a lot of information on the page, add a menu with links to different sections of the page – this will simplify the website’s navigation.
A fixed menu will help your visitor to find the section he needs at any time; it will always stay visible when scrolling. It’s a good solution to make your website navigation more convenient.
Use pop-up tooltips
Simplify your website’s navigation with pop-up tooltips that help the user understand what this button or that icon is for.
The menu can show in which section of the site the user is located, highlighting the item that relates to this section.
There are several options for highlighting the active menu item: you can change its saturation, opacity, and color. In addition, the active menu item can be underlined or crossed out.
Add indicators (dots) to determine the visitor’s location
Indicators in the form of dots do not distract visitor’s attention from the content but show where the visitor is located.
Show the loading and scrolling process
The page loading animation tells the user the process of loading the content.
Set the color of the indicator. It is better to use the one that will stand out against the background and will not merge with the color of the menu or layout.
Page scroll indicator is a very good idea to make your navigation more convenient. It shows where the user is located at the moment, and loads as the page scroll down. Creating the scroll indicator of the page makes sense when the page length exceeds 3-4 screens.
Of the two adjacent buttons, the one that is more important should visually stand out.
Usually, the first buttons of the target action of the page are, for example, «Sign up for an event», «Buy a course», «Attend the first lesson for free». The second button is less significant, in most cases it is a link to additional information: «Details», «About us», «How it works».
The simplest thing is to use a bright color for the button background. It should be contrasted with the lower value button. For the second button, it is enough to use a color border without filling, or a background of a neutral color.
Hide some of the content
The browsing becomes quite difficult when you have many of the elements of the same type, located in one place of the page. Add the button that will hide part of the elements and show them only by clicking.
A good idea is to indicate how many elements the button hides.
There are several ways to hide part of the content:
- create the «show more» button;
- place the text in the dropdown block (it’s a great option for long lists with services or answers to questions);
- create drop-down tabs (several tabs can be showing different content by clicking on the corresponding tab within the same page).
The «Go Up» button helps the user to quickly get to the beginning of the page from anywhere he is located at the moment.
It is especially useful if you need to make your navigation on pages with articles and a lot of content more convenient. It helps to avoid long and tedious scrolling.
Make sure there is no dead-end at the end of the page. Do not «leave» the user who reached the end of the page. At a minimum (actually, you should create a website’s footer), give him the opportunity to quickly return to the beginning, or to go to the main or next page.
If you create a landing page – it’s the best place to add your call to action button. If there is an article on the page, then you can add links to other articles of similar subjects here.
Create a friendly page URL
Section names help the user navigate the site by address and, in addition, positively affect the relevance of the page.
A human-readable URL consists of user-friendly words, not a system address.
The first part (https://) shows the method that is used to get access to the website.
The second part of the address is the name of your domain, the address that helps you to find the website on the Web. If the site is multi-page, www.mysite.com will be the address of the main page, all other sections and subsections are added in order to the address through a slash.
If this is a one-pager with sections, it is better to use anchor links with clear names, for example, #about or #contacts, since they also appear in the address bar.