The Importance of Deliberate Website Navigation Design

In the past, when users were using a web browser to access information online, they would usually follow links that they found on pages that captured their attention.

While this method of finding information has not gone away, it is no longer the dominant way that people find websites and move through them.  

As formulated by our web design toronto and web design singapore team, Today’s Internet users are most often navigating to websites by following links found in search engine results.  They are seeking information, goods and services, entertainment, connections with friends—anything that they can find on the web.  

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important concepts for Website Navigation:

With the goal of optimizing Website Navigation for better web browsing, we will discuss some important concepts below:

1. The Hierarchy of Information Architecture (IA) and Navigation Design:

Navigation design is about developing a mental map in your users’ minds about how your site or app is organized.  It needs to explain where they are, where they can go and what options are available at each juncture.  

Navigation design involves making decisions about menu organization, page layouts, labeling of links and buttons along with how often menus should be repeated on a page, etc.

2. A Hierarchy of Content:

The IA for a site should be straightforward and go from top-level links to the most specific.  This ensures that users find what they need within a reasonable number of clicks and pages and it creates a user journey with minimal fuss.  A good rule of thumb is to have no more than three levels of depth within the site.

3. Learning From Google:

The way that users have come to expect navigation on websites is largely influenced by how they are already using search engines.  This means it’s important to be aware of what Google does in terms of its pagination design, how it uses internal site links and external links, what it does when users go to a second page of search results, etc.

Navigation Design Best Practices:

  1. Use simple, consistent labels on links to ensure that users know where they will go when clicking or tapping on a link. If multiple words need be used to label a link, make sure they are short and concise in order to be user-friendly.  
  2. Internal links should consistently open in the same window or tab, while external links should open in a new window or tab.
  3. Use breadcrumbs so that users can easily see where they are within the website’s navigation structure. Breadcrumbs appear on every page of the site and remind users where they are and how to move back.
  4. Use a site map that helps users understand the different sections of your site and where they can go within it.  A site map is especially helpful for large organizations with deep websites or complex sites with lots of pages.
  5. Breadcrumbs should be used on every page of the site. Check out best examples of navigation design. 

Deliberation in Navigation Design:

You may have heard the term “user-friendly”.  It is sometimes used to describe websites that are easy to navigate, which likely means that it includes navigation design best practices like those previously mentioned.  But there’s an important concept related to user experience that’s called “deliberateness”.

Deliberateness refers to the fact that users are likely not going to appreciate your site or app if it doesn’t have a clear visual hierarchy of information, use simple labels on links, provide relevant content and explain how the website is organized.  

Just because you know how users are suppose to navigate through your site doesn’t mean they will find it easy to figure out on their own.

In order for a site to feel familiar and be user-friendly, it needs to have a deliberate navigation design that is consistent throughout the website.  If your site appears haphazard or random, users will likely get frustrated and not come back. There are also other factors that affects a site, check our factors of optimal web design by Web design NYC team.

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