Can you imagine if you walked into a shop, only to find all of the products stocked randomly on the shelves with no sense of order? With no labels on the end of the aisles it takes you forever to find the product that you are looking for. When you are finally ready to buy, the cash register is nowhere to be seen and you have to walk through a labyrinth to get to it. Wouldnâ€™t you be tempted to walk out and take your business elsewhere?
While your companyâ€™s physical shop might be well organized and easy to navigate, can you say the same for your website?
Your website is incredibly crucial to the success of your business. For many of your customers it is their first impression of you and the source where they obtain the information that they need. Unfortunately, many businesses have websites which have terrible navigation, causing users to get lost and frustrated and even give up and head to a competitorâ€™s site instead. In fact, a recent study by User Interface Engineering, Inc. found that 60% of the time people report not being able to find the information that they are looking for on a website.
If your visitors are getting lost within your website, here are some design tips that will help you improve your navigation:
Create a Universal Navigation
One of the best things that you can go to improve the navigation on your website is to create a universal navigation system on every single page of the site. For example, this can be a side bar, header or footer which contains links to all of the different sections of the website so that the viewer can move throughout the site with ease no matter what page they are on. This will also improve your SEO people the search engine crawlers will be able to see and index your site more easily. It will also save your users from getting stranded on any â€œdead endâ€ pages.
This navigation bar should be included in the same place on every page, so that visitors will not have to find it each time.
Use Text Links as Well As Images
When you are designing your website you might feel like an image-based navigation system looks attractive, but it can sometimes be a real pain for navigation. This is because when you use images without text it can be difficult for your users to guess what each image is representing. Also, if your users are experiencing problems with their internet connection the images might not load properly and then your website will not be usable. Make sure that you always have a text based navigation system on every page.
Avoid Flash Navigation
There was an era years ago when websites tried to outdo each other with snazzy, flash animations and navigation systems. However, these days flash is not only outdated but it is also bad for search engine optimization because it does not include any text links. Flash also takes frustratingly long to load and will not even show up on some browsers that donâ€™t support it.
Add a Search Box
This is another great way to help your users navigate your website. Your visitors might be looking for something very specific and they will not want to scour through every page of your site until they find it. A small search box is easy to include and will help them get to exactly what they are looking for as quickly as possible.
Donâ€™t let your users get lost within the navigation of your website, use these tips to enhance the usability and improve the visitors experience.