In contemporary times, with the advent of modern technologies, the internet world has expanded exponentially and to all corners of the globe. Hence, businesses have started placing paramount importance on designing their websites efficiently as it gives them the necessary web and social presence across the world. To ensure that their designing is done effectively and by the best in the business, they have started hiring remote website developers to handle the process of website development.
With the commercialization of businesses on the e-platform, the development and designing of a website’s navigation have a massive impact on the success or failure of the website. Web navigation refers to the procedure of navigating through a complete network of information resources on the internet (WWW). This is organized on the web and linked to each other through hypertext or hypermedia, and the users can access these websites through their web browsers.
The navigation has become vital as it impacts the website traffic and also influences search engine rankings. It also plays an important role in how the website is received by the users. Almost everything important about our website will somehow be linked to the website’s navigation, and this makes the development of the website navigation all the more critical.
Despite lots of importance being given to the development of the website navigation, a few flaws do pop up during the designing process which goes on to hinder the development. These errors may affect the usability of the website and might reduce the usability of the website. Hence, it is essential to be aware of the most common errors committed by the web developers, and these need to be avoided-
1. Have a standard style navigation:
Web users are generally used to seeing the web navigation bar placed either on the top or the left side of the webpage. Toying with this and placing the navigation bar in other non-standard areas might not necessarily please the users and this might have an adverse effect on the success of the website as this might reduce the number of visitors checking the website.
2. Establish persistent navigations
Each page of the website must have a standardized and consistent navigation. If the navigation keeps alternating between different pages of the website, it is likely to annoy the visitors. The lack of consistency in your website’s layout wouldn’t please the users and it would simply cause them to stop visiting the website.
3. Don’t provide the user too many options
Providing the user with too many options to choose from will only go on to confuse them. The users hence may not be able to identify the information they were actually looking for and their purpose of visiting the website may remain unfulfilled. Therefore, it’s better to trim the number of web pages in the top level navigation by providing the users only the essentials i.e. what they require.
4. Don’t forget to tell your users where they are
Not every visitor to your website starts off from the homepage of the website. If they land up on the website through a hyperlink or are redirected from a social networking website or from search results, there are chances they might feel lost when they move to other pages in the website. So it is essential that the users feel at comfort when they reach the webpage and for that to happen it needs to be self-explanatory with large headings so that they can find their way through the website to get all the content they are looking for.
5. Pay close attention to your order of navigation
Researchers have concluded that the users are most likely to remember the items that are placed at the start or the end of the list. Hence, it would be best suited to place the links to the most important and frequently accessed web pages at the front and end of the navigation bar. It is also ideal to place the links to the data you consider most informative in the prime areas of your website navigation bar.
6. Avoid using Generic Labels
The labels in the navigation should be self-explanatory. Using generic labels that do not give the website users any idea about the business and this would mean that the central idea will not be communicated to them. Hence it is important to make the website navigation descriptive, rather than using labels that don’t make sense to the visitors.
7. Think twice before using Drop Down Menus
Drop down menus tend to be difficult for the search engine to navigate through. Drop down menus also psych the website visitors as the items drop down much slower than the speed of our eye movement after passing it over the drop down link on our mouse. This also causes the visitors to ignore some of the most important pages of your website. Since the reaction time of drop-down menu is very slow, it is best to leave out drop-down menus in your website navigation.
Don’t link your website to web pages that lead to dead ends. If certain pages are under development, those should also be left out until they are constructed completely. Also, the website should not be linked to web pages that only display images without any content. Leading the visitors to dead ends make the website look extremely unprofessional and it also ends up creating a bad image for the users.
9. Avoid using long names
As the space in the navigation bar is limited, filling up too much of content into is unwise. Similarly, using extremely long names in the navigation bar tends to fill up the limited space available to them. There are times when slightly longer names might be necessary to provide more clarity to the web users, but these long names should only be used during extreme circumstances.
10. Keep difference in screen sizes in mind
Today’s websites are accessed on a variety of devices of varied screen sizes. Quite often, development of the website navigation is done keeping only the large screen monitors in mind. However, this navigation will break down in the devices of smaller screen sizes like mobile phones and tablets. Hence, the navigation needs to be done in such a way that is responsive to different screen sizes making it more convenient for the visitors to access the website on the device of their choice.
The design of a company’s website is almost a make-or-break situation for the business. There are more things to a website development than just designing the user interface to a visitor’s satisfaction, and the website navigation is one of those vital components in the development phase. Website navigation mistakes tend to be expensive and should hence be strictly avoided. Navigation mistakes could reduce user satisfaction and this could have an adverse effect on search rankings. So a lot of care needs to be paid while developing the website navigation and these above-mentioned mistakes should be avoided.