Improving website navigation not only leads to users spending more time on your site and perhaps even making a purchase, but it can also boost traffic. Web users are more likely to return to a site that works properly and where they can find information quickly.
Here are the 7 best tips for smoother, easier website navigation:
- Start with information architecture. In order to map out the ideal customer journey, you need to first establish an information hierarchy. What information is your site providing and which is the most important?
- Don’t offer too many options. Some brands make the mistake of including too much on their websites, as they don’t want to run the risk of disappointing a visitor wanting a particular thing. This actually slows down and frustrates the customer journey. It throws up unnecessary obstacles that prevent users moving smoothly through to your ultimate goal, which is making the sale. With fewer options available, making a choice – the choice you want them to make – is quicker and easier.
- Don’t neglect mobile users. A crucial part of website navigation planning is accommodating users on small screens. As this Invision blog points out, things that would be acceptable on a laptop simply aren’t acceptable on a mobile device – such as pop-ups, lots of text entry and overcomplicated design. You may also need to rethink the design with this new target audience – mobile users – in mind.
- Test! You’re far too close to the design to be able to test its usability by an average customer. This is why it’s crucial to test your design thoroughly, asking either your customers or perhaps friends and family to try to find specific information or perform specific tasks.
- Be clear. Wording plays an important role in the navigation in your site, as it effectively tells your visitors what to do and where to go. You need to decide on a strategy – will you keep it minimalist and let the visual content do the talking, or add some descriptive wording to help users find their way?
- Prioritise your menus. What is the most important thing that you want users to do on your website? This action should be placed in your primary menu, with all the other information that someone may want later on placed in less prominent (perhaps even hidden) menus.
- Stick to convention. You want to be innovative with your web design, but this doesn’t mean messing with convention. Users have certain expectations from websites, such as the back button being on the left-hand side as people associate this direction with backwards. If elements like this aren’t in the place they are expected to be, you could have very frustrated visitors on your hands – and frustrated visitors don’t stick around!
What do you believe is the secret to smooth site navigation and an optimum user experience? Please feel free to share your tips.