In the rule-book for web designing a great stress is given to a good navigation design. The reasons are obvious. It has the same reason that associates with designing as building or a residential locality. To reach a specific place in the building or the locality you need to know the layout plan. Just like a physical layout, navigation in a website creates an ideal flow of links that offers a logical itinerary of various sections of a website for the visiting users. Navigation is meant for better user experience and a beneficial website visit. It is like an invitation to a visitor to go through all the sections of the website.
Categories of Navigation
There are different styles of adding a navigational layout that can be added to the website the prominent being hierarchical, global or local.
When a user traverses a website using its hierarchical layout matching the sitemap the menus presented to the visitor imitate the structure of website. The visitor can select any level from the menu to directly jump to a webpage of choice.
When presented a global navigation the user will be able to access the top level navigation structure on each page. With this user can access and move to the key sections of the website from any page where she is presently located on.
Local navigation is mean to present a set of links that will allow a visitor to browse through the local sections of a sub section of a bigger website.
Elements of navigation design
The different elements like text links, image links, breadcrumbs, navigational bar, tabbed interface, dropdown menu, sitemap, flyout menus or anchors in text can be used to create this layout.
Importance of a good website navigation design
Conveys business goals
Website is an interface offered to the visitors to the customers and clients of a business. This interface should ease the way the user wants to reach the place of interest. It can be done by creating suitable handles and pointers to make the interaction profitable to business as well as user. A navigational layout contains these handles. It should present the character of the business by creating a logical path of the content and help the visitor in converting the interaction to business value.
Help for impatient users
A user who land on a specific website have an objective to fulfill. It can be a purchase, a transaction or simple seeking some information A website must provide an intuitive and unambiguous navigation so that the user stays on the course to right content. If a website fails to do this the impatient visitor will exit within few seconds of visit. It will increase the bounce rate, which is not healthy for a website from SEO aspect as well.
Maintains the logical flow of content
A business can be successful if the client knows that what is being offered to him in form of products, services or information. While designing the website care must be taken to highlight the important aspects of the business and the section that hold USP of the business. It must be easily accessible without any veil, mystery or chaining of links.
Indicate visitors’ location- a well planned and executed navigational layout will let the user know his location in the website. This facility will let him decide his course of action to browse the site. Failure to identify his present location, He may take a follow an unwanted link and if this happens frequently he leave the website to move any competent site with better navigation.
Gives an organized view of website
Being organized is a way to say that my business is as sorted as my website is. With a navigational structure you present a follow-able route of your website to the visitor with a message that you are there for the convenience of your clients. An organized website is a strong method of pulling your clients towards your business.
While designing the website you must acknowledge the significance of navigation design and integrate it seamlessly with the purpose of your business. Make sure that this window to your business for the world should be an experience to be relished and revisited and not a myriad of random links to get lost. Have a compliant website with a well-planned navigational layout. Hold your visitors and make them your forever clients.