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10 UX Tips to Improve Website Navigation

Websites navigation is the most important feature of the overall user experience. The existence of a good site navigation system is critical to the effect your website will have on the visitor, and whether they will stick to see the remaining pages or leave. Navigation can make or break the performance of the site, but it also affects everything else about it - from retaining visitors to turning them into conversions.

Unfortunately, many website owners do not recognise the importance of navigation. Most of them focus on design and multimedia, dedicating very little attention to creating a site that is easy to use. What they are left with is a site where people need to ‘hunt’ for content to find what they need, and this is never good news.

If you want to stop chasing visitors away, it is time to improve your website’s navigation.

See also: Knowledge is Power. Harnessing Desk Research to Boost Your Business

1. Divide the Categories

Your navigation system probably has several categories, sections and sub-sections. These should be named with good, SEO-friendly titles, but that is not enough. Your categories should also be visually and clearly presented on the site, and also visibly separated from sub-categories. 

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2. Limit the Number of Menu Selections

In most cases, the recommended number of menu selections is no more than 7 or 8. People do not have a lot of time to spend on your site, and they will appreciate it if you organise your content into several categories in the navigation menu. Too many categories can be very time-consuming and lead to some serious indecision. This could easily cost you a conversion because, as soon you make them confused, your visitors will leave.

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3. Create Various Clickable Links

Every navigation element on your site needs to be a clickable link. Don’t forget about drop-down menus – visitors may click on a sub-category to see if there is more information or a page about it. If there is, make sure to create clickable links wherever possible. However, dropdowns are not a very mobile- or touch-friendly solution. So keeping a balance here is also important.

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See also: Make Decisions, Not Guesses – How Web Data Analytics Can Drive Your Digital Product Development

4. Keep It Organised the Way Your Users Expect It to Be

You shouldn’t see navigation as an opportunity to place links to everything, no matter what they are. Mind how your navigation appears on the site, and whether it makes it easier or harder for the visitor to find pages. If your navigation strategies keep losing the visitor from page to page and they constantly have to reorient themselves to find something, you are doing a bad job.

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5. Remove Misleading Navigation Titles and Text

Look for misleading and inaccurate navigation titles and links that may confuse the visitor or annoy him. This is one common reason for site abandonment. Visitors should have real information about what they will find if they click on a navigational link, and misleading them is never good for user experience. Ensure that all verbiage is an accurate portrayal of the page it corresponds to - this applies to images as well.

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See also: Fix the Unnecessary Complexity of Your Product and Simplify User Experience

6. Include ALT Text in Images

If you decided to make an image clickable, include an ALT attribute with text that corresponds to the linked page. In this way, everyone will know that the photo is a link and where that link takes them. This also helps visually-impaired people use the navigation.

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7. Make Sure That the Search Feature is Easy to Find

A website’s search box is probably the most commonly used and therefore, very important component of user experience. This is the key you give to your users to provide them with easy access to the information they need. Ideally, you should place the search box at the top of the sidebar or in the header area.

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8. Ensure That the Search Box Works

It is simply not enough to ensure that it is findable – you must make it work. The search result page of your site should always produce results, compensate for common misspellings, and show related products and items. A search result that presents the user with a ‘no product found’ notification is no longer a well-accepted strategy.

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9. Include Links to the Homepage

Visitors may want to return to the homepage after checking other pages. The homepage is usually the place where they can make an order, find contact information, or get to another page they cannot access from where they are.

Never force visitors to have to use their browser’s ‘back’ feature to go to your home page. Your site should provide a link to the home page on all pages, preferably through the company logo.

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10. Make Good Use of Colors

Colors can make all the difference when it comes to differentiating one thing from another on a site. Use color for your navigation bar and make it visible to the visitor right away. If your site’s background is bright, use a light color – and vice versa.

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Follow these tips and you will improve your website’s navigation faster than you thought. Do you have any other tricks in mind?

 

About the author: Olivia is a young journalist who is passionate about topics of career, recruitment and self-development. She constantly tries to learn something new and share this experience on Aussie writing service as well as on other relevant websites.

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