When it comes to designing a website, one of the most important elements to consider is navigation. A well-designed navigation menu can make all the difference in creating a positive user experience. In this blog post, I’ll be sharing some tips for creating a user-friendly website navigation that will help your clients and customers easily find what they’re looking for.
How to make a user-friendly website navigation
- (KISS!) Keep it simple, stupid, and intuitive
First and foremost, keep your navigation menu simple and intuitive. Visitors should be able to quickly and easily find the information they’re looking for without having to navigate through a maze of links. Use clear and concise language for your menu items, and organise them in a logical way.
- Limit the number of menu items
Having too many menu items can be overwhelming for visitors. Try to limit your menu to no more than 7 items, and use submenus to organise additional pages. This will help visitors quickly find what they’re looking for and reduce the likelihood of them leaving your site out of frustration.
- Use clear labels
Use descriptive and concise labels for your menu items. Avoid using generic terms like “Products” or “Services” if possible, and instead use specific names that clearly communicate what the visitor can expect to find “Shop” or “Work with me” work well instead. This will help visitors quickly identify the information they need and avoid confusion.
- Prioritise important pages
Place the most important pages in your menu towards the top or left side of the navigation menu. This is where visitors are most likely to look first. By prioritising important pages, you’ll ensure that visitors can quickly find the information they need and stay engaged with your site.
- Include a search bar
Including a search bar can be so helpful for visitors who are looking for specific information on your website. I use search bars all the time on mobile sites but when I can’t find it; I’ll bounce. Having an easy to access search bar can save them time and frustration by allowing the user to quickly find what they’re looking for without having to navigate through multiple pages.
- Make it consistent
Make sure that your navigation menu is consistent across all pages of your website. Visitors should be able to easily find their way around your site, regardless of where they are. This will help create a cohesive user experience and reduce confusion. I’ll caveat this one with a note – if you’re creating a landing / funnel you can remove the main nav completely as there is only one focus and action for users on that page.
- Make it responsive
Make sure your navigation menu is designed to be responsive to different screen sizes, particularly for mobile devices. A responsive design will ensure that your menu is easy to use on all devices and that visitors can quickly find the information they need.
- To include a ‘Home’ tab or not…
Including a home button in your navigation menu can help visitors quickly return to your homepage. This is particularly important for larger websites where visitors may navigate to multiple pages before wanting to return to the main page BUT most tech savvy users will click on the logo to return to the homepage. Think about your target audience to decide this.
- Use dropdown menus with caution
While dropdown menus can be useful for organising additional pages, they can also be confusing for visitors if not used carefully. Make sure your dropdown menus are clearly labeled and easy to use, and avoid using too many submenus.
- Provide visual cues / feedback
Provide feedback to visitors when they hover over or click on a menu item. This can be as simple as changing the color of the menu item, the background colour or a button animation.
- Consider a ‘Sticky’ navigation
Sticky navigation refers to a navigation menu that stays visible at the top of the page as the visitor scrolls down. This can be particularly useful for longer pages where visitors may need to navigate back to the top of the page.
- Test it
Finally, test your website navigation with real visitors to make sure it’s easy to use and understand. This will help you identify any issues or areas for improvement, and ensure that your website provides a positive user experience.
Website navigation is a critical element in creating a positive user experience. By following these tips, you can create a website navigation that is user-friendly, engaging, and effective in guiding visitors to the information they need. A well-designed navigation menu can help create a positive user experience, increase engagement, and ultimately drive the success of your website.
Want more tips? Discover 10 must haves for small business websites