Keep Your Website Navigation Simple
by Merle Stinnett
Whatever the reason you have for building a Web Site, they all have one thing in common that is to convey information to millions of Web Surfers in an easy-to-follow path.
This article will help to ensure your visitors find just what they need by supplying easy-to-follow navigation. Now my telling you a few tips on clean navigation won’t help you if your site is at a loss for quality information. Content is King, navigation second.
Web Surfers are always in a hurry, that we know, and you don’t want to take the risk of upsetting them as soon as they enter your site by burying content so deep within your site they can’t find what they are looking for. Don’t make them guess where they need to go, instead of lead them right to it.
Navigation bars which are a simple set of buttons or text should be repeated on every page in the site, usually at the top, left, or bottom. Make sure you locate them in the same place on every page, consistency is key. If your page scrolls down more than 1 1/2 screen view you might want to add simple text navigation to the very bottom so they don’t have to scroll back to the top to make another selection.
It’s also a good idea to let people know exactly where they are at the given moment. You can accomplish this by having the button for the page they are on slightly altered in appearance, for example, dimmed or highlighted or another color.
Every navigation bar should include a home page button, contact information, and if your site is largely an index page or site map. A site map will show a complete outline of the site. Search capabilities are another good idea and allow people to conduct a one or two-word search of your site and get back a possible list of pages.
Make sure you keep everything consistent and organized from page to page. Don’t worry so much about fancy backgrounds and Java Applets you don’t want to make a site so technologically advanced that your guests have to download plug-ins just to view it or wait forever while a Java Applet loads.
Instead, concentrate on the organization of information in a simple easy to follow format, and your site will become bookmarked on everyone’s favorite list.
The article is copyrighted by Merle Stinnett of MC Promotions, helping small businesses create an online presence.