Essentials of Website Navigation

Sometimes weaving your way through the World Wide Web can be extremely frustrating. To aid in easing user’s navigation throughout your website, I have included some of the best navigation tools and best practices that will keep users from feeling overwhelmed while visiting your site.

Persistent navigation

Persistent navigation is the set of navigational components that appear consistently on every page of a web site. This helps users know they are on the same site they started with and directs them back to the main sections of the website.

Search box

For websites rich in content, having a search box can help users get to the information they need in a timely manner and without frustration.

Page labels

Users tend to get frustrated when they land on a page and don’t know what the subject or content is about.  Adding a prominent label will ease users into the page’s content.

Breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs are a navigation aid used on websites to help users keep track of their locations within the website. Breadcrumbs help users figure out the path they took to get to a certain page and allows them to go back to the pages that got them there easily, without having to return to previous pages through the back button.

Sections

Separate areas of content from each other; this makes it easier for users to see what content goes with each section. Take advantage of white space as a means to visually separate information.

Timely content

Having outdated content on your website can make users question the website altogether. Keep information relevant to what is happening in the present.

Utilities

Utilities are components not related to the page content but that appear on the top or bottom of the page such as FAQs, search, about us, as well as others.

Shortcuts to high traffic areas

If you have areas of your website that are frequented far more than others, place links to these pages throughout the website to make it easier for users to get to.

Shopping cart

For websites where products are being sold, install a shopping cart so that users can purchase online. Put an easy to get to link on the upper right hand corner of the website so that the user can view their cart and continue to the purchase process when ready.

Logo of company to get back to home page

Company logos typically should go in the upper left hand corner of the website and should be available on all pages of a website. Have the logo direct back to the home page for ease in navigation.