“Behind every great brand is a well-designed website.” Someone important must have said that…right? It’s important for your brand to have an accessible, easy-to-use design and the primary step of that is creating killer website navigation.
In web design terms, “navigation” refers to the way in which the user takes a journey through your website. It begins with establishing a hierarchy of data, crafting the perfect menu, and ensuring the user has an easy time getting to where they require to go.
Intelligent website navigation design is essential for the success of a brand as a whole. Navigation benefits the user comprehend your website’s content and holds them where you want them on your website and not someone else’s.
The importance of website navigation
Let’s say a possible customer is shopping for running shoes, so they come to an ecommerce website selling sportswear and accessories. Now, the customer has to determine their way from the landing page to the running shoe selection and it depends on the navigation menu to point them in the correct direction. Ideally, this process is straightforward and it happens quickly.
If this journey isn’t seamless, that implies the navigation is poorly designed and the website as a whole will instantly feel clunky and unprofessional. What happens next is that the customer becomes frustrated and decides this inefficient design to indicate the quality of service and/or actual products of the sportswear brand. Eventually, it probably suggests that they take a hike to one of the site’s opponents and they lose out on a sale.
Think of the home page as point A, then the content on each consequent landing page is point B. Well-designed website navigation takes the user from point A to point B in a fast, intuitive way and this is your end goal!
Basic principles of website navigation
Let’s begin with some basic principles of good website navigation: logical hierarchy, simplicity, and versatility.
Building a well-designed navigation menu starts with listing out a hierarchy of information for your menu labels. Let’s assume your brand is a law firm. The navigation menu should apparently highlight the area of law you concentrate on, your team of lawyers, some client testimonials, and your contact info. List everything out and try to build logical, quick, easy-to-comprehend labels for everything in your menu. For instance, “our contact information” seems a bit stuffy, while “contact us” is charming and friendly.
Less is more. By restricting your menu options and keeping things simple, your message is clearly communicated without unnecessary noise. You don’t require 20 options displayed on your navigation menu. Think about prioritizing the information, then considering it specifically without too much fuss. Remember: simplicity should be an element in all of your planning, right from the start.
The website experience and the end-user
Let’s talk about user experience. It’s all about how a person thinks when they’re on your website, and how they respond to the information, which has been displayed before them. Think of it this way: it’s the nuanced knowledge of human contact in a digital environment.
Navigation is the backbone of the user experience on a website. By successfully reaching where they need to go, the user is satisfied and engaged. In contrast, if a bad user experience takes place, the user could end up becoming annoyed or completely disinterested. This thought from the user affects your brand positioning as a whole. This is your chance to keep the customer where you require them to be: interacting with you.
Diving deeper into the customer experience, it’s important to follow the principles of UX design throughout all the features of your website, from design and content to usability and accessibility.
Whether you’re establishing a brand from the ground up or looking to increase your existing business, clean, understandable website navigation will be an essential part of your success. We get it: web design can be complex and overwhelming and sometimes you don’t quite know where to begin. But that’s just it: a well-made website begins with great navigation.