A significant component in website design is navigation. This paper will present a research in order to discover best practices in navigation. First, examples will be shown. After which, a prototype for 123.comwill be shown.
Best Practices on Site Navigation
Acquiring customers to your site is the easy part. Retention of customers on your website is another story. Site navigation is the foremost step of this process. The navigation of your website had better be simple and comfortable to use and unproblematic. There are 5 matters one can do to make navigation of a website a little more easygoing. According to Web.com Search Agency (2009), the top 5 practices for site navigation are:
Having customers visit a website is quite simple. However, the challenge is to make the customers become interested in the website. This is where the importance of navigation comes in. It should be simple and user-friendly. This can be done with five simple tips. The best practices, in reference to Web.com Search Agency (2009), are:
First, the navigation bar should be located right away. Usually, websites have several categories and they can be located either at the top or left side of every page, as these are the most noticeable area in a page. If you have subcategories, they should also be placed below each category; use a drop-down menu.
Secondly, titles should be brief, explanatory, and straightforward. The users should know what each title pertains to. Do not use hidden meanings. For example, avoid using “Resources” but instead use “News Links”. Instead of “Products” you can be more specific. Make sure that you do not use a lot of words here to make everything clear and concise.
Coherence is also important. The navigation should be the same in each page. The location, font, style, and titles should all be the same in each page.
Tell the users where they are. When users browse a sub-page, make sure that you inform which part of the site they are in. Here is an example: Shoes > Sports > Adidas when a user has browsed a sequence of sub-pages. By doing this, when user opts to go to another level, then it will be easier without having to start from the homepage all over again.
They always say that less is more. There are a few websites that display their navigation design very complicated and loud. This is done for visual purposes, although the best practice is to make it easy. Make sure that navigation is crystal clear; do not use Flash – the search engines will not be able to search through this. Make sure that the users only need to use a few clicks to complete a transaction (5 best practices of website navigation, para. 4).
Efficient Site Navigation Examples
Here are examples of 2 websites that demonstrate good navigation practices. The navigation of each example site focuses on simplicity, clarity, and effortless use.
Here are two sites that show best practices in terms of good navigation. They are simple, clear, and user-friendly.
Figure 1 Efficient Site Navigation Example – Amazon Website
Figure 2 Efficient Site Navigation Example - Ebay Website 123.comSite Navigation Prototypes
The key design for 123.comnavigation will be established on user-friendliness as far as the visitors are concerned. They are informed about their location in the site, direct them to go around the site and go back to the home page or the page that was previously visited. The navigation shall be located easily, and shall be in harmony as far as location, font, design, and titles are concerned. The title names shall be short and simple, not very artistic because the users might be baffled. I shall avoid using ostentatious graphics and users should be able to reach the page that they want to visit easily. Having too many sub-pages or sub-sections might result to users leaving the website and finding alternatives. It is important that all links are working to avoid losing visitors.
Figure 4 123.comSite Navigation Prototypes – Great Affordable Favors Website
In conclusion, with the intention of creating a thriving website, it is important to have a good navigation. This is a very significant component and must be located right away, either on top or left side bar. Clarity and understandability are the main characteristics of a good title. Navigation bar should be in harmony with other pages. Thus, it should be placed in the same location and should have the same fonts, titles, and designs. Users should be aware of where they are in the site, should be directed to the right pages, and be able to navigate back to the previous pages.