As a web designer, one of my first considerations with everything I do is how it will affect the user experience (UX for short). It’s at the heart of my work and I take it very seriously.
A significant part of this is how easy it is for a user to navigate a website. There are some incredible designs out there but if the visitors to a website struggle to navigate around it then they won’t be visiting for long.
5 Ways To Take Navigation To The Next Level
I’m going to explain 5 simple ways you can make sure that a website you design is easy to navigate. This makes it user friendly and provides an enhanced UX.
1) Be Mobile Friendly
In modern web design it’s almost unheard of for a website to be designed without being optimised for mobile. I actually start many of my design projects by creating the mobile site, then the desktop version.
Mobile screens come in a variety of sizes and slight differences may occur between pages. But maintaining consistency in fonts, colours and visuals such as icons make for an easier journey for a visitor.
2) Consider Your Content Structure & Build From There
A navigation menu can look delightful, full of verve and colour. But its primary purpose isn’t to look nice. It’s to help users.
Your content is the way to determine how your menu will work. A multi layered site, for example, will need a clear, focused menu so browsers know exactly how to get around.
3) Visual Cues & Prompts
Particularly on a mobile site, where space is at a premium, it is well worth considering the use of visual cues as opposed to text.
A house icon is universally known as the ‘homepage’ icon. Likewise a shopping trolley is clearly a cue to the ‘shop’ page. Good icon use shows context to the user and they work especially well on a utility menu.
4) Consider Where The Visitor’s Focus Lies
In modern web design we are seeing sliders and, in particular, animation and video play an increasing role. As engaging as they are to a visitor, they do demand attention.
This can make a navigation menu invisible. Therefore consider using white space or bold colours to prevent this issue.
5) Keep It Simple
Is there anything more frustrating than having to go through repeated links to find the page you want? Content heavy sites can be guilty of this.
There is a very simple solution no matter the amount of content. A mega menu, well organised into columns and rows. Making every page easily accessible reduces the risk of visitors getting frustrated and heading elsewhere.
Navigating Your Way To Success
These 5 tips are a certain way of ensuring the website you’re designing doesn’t neglect the key feature of user friendliness. Keep the navigation menu as simple and self-explanatory as possible. This way you can be sure the visitors UX is not one spent struggling to find the page they need.