Designing Navigation for Websites

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When designing a website, one of the most important parts is the navigation. If done correctly it can increase site use, keep end-users coming back, improve site search ranking and even drive revenue if you have an online store for example. Those are just a few things navigation can have a large impact on.

Before all of that comes in to place, the brainstorming and planning would need to be done first. Starting with the most important sections of the site and then working down. You wouldn’t want to have everything in the top navigation, since it would be too much for the end-user to take in. A secondary navigation works well, but too many tiers of navigation can drive away an end-user if they have to click through all of it to get to what they need.

For example on an online store website, you wouldn’t want to bury your products section or have the buy now buttons in a hard to find place. Bring the most important things to the forefront.

For each page it may have interior navigation links that will relate to certain things in the site or other sites. Even these parts should be carefully thought out. Placement and contrast of links compared to standard copy or image links is a good sign of design and thought out planning.

Other examples would include the naming of the navigation links. Making them easily identifiable is the key. It’s not only key for first time users benefit to understand what they are reading and looking for, but also to help Google and other search ranking sites, rank your site.

After setting up the navigation diagram of the site, it makes putting the site together much easier and provides a great user experience in the end.