A website’s User Experience (UX) and navigation are two of the most important factors to consider when creating a website. If a website does not deliver on these expectations, it will be difficult for people to use.
The navigational design and hierarchy of a site impact conversion, revenues, and bounce rates.
The only way to keep a user on your site for a long period of time is to have a navigation system that is both easy to use and interesting.
The navigation of a website can be thought of as a collection of User Interface (UI) elements that guide visitors to different pages and content on the site. This can provide a better overall experience for users as they can more easily find what they are looking for.
The goal of your website’s navigation is to make it easy for your visitors to find the content they want.
The goal of a strong UX is to make it easy for visitors to find the content they’re looking for without any roadblocks getting in their way.
Your website’s design should be easy for visitors to navigate so they can find your content. Use these tips to improve the user experience on any website.
1. Make Your Website Mobile-Responsive
You need to design your website with mobile users in mind because they make up a large part of the internet population.
It is very important that your website works well on mobile devices and other screen sizes.
When reading text on a small screen, ensure that the text is at least 16 pixels in size. In addition, links should be accessed with a simple touch, just as buttons are.
2. Have Limited Options In The Menu
Websites with hundreds of links on their home page are not good.
The fewer links there are in the primary menu, the easier it is for search engines and visitors to find what they’re looking for. Having fewer navigation options also makes it easier for users to find their way around the website.
You can make your site easier to use by having a simple menu with a few levels.
Your homepage has more search engine authority than your interior pages because more sites link to your homepage. This authority flows down to deeper pages through your navigation.
If you have a lot of links on your homepage, it will reduce the amount of authority that is passed down to your other pages. This makes it less likely that your other pages will be ranked highly.
If you have a clear and concise navigation, each individual page is more likely to have a higher ranking.
If your navigation consists of 50 items and every other link and button on the page totals up to 200 pages, the authority passed from the home page to each of those pages is divided by 200.
Reducing the number of links on your home page will increase the amount of authority passed to your interior pages, making it more likely for them to rank.
Fewer items in your navigation are also good for visitors.
Short-term memory can store around seven items, give or take a couple. This is according to the well-known psychology paper from George Miller in 1956.
The most recent research shows that the brain uses “chunking” as a method to improve recall in short-term memory, but the number of chunks depends on the category. It may be seven for numbers, but only five for words.
The more items you have in your navigation, the harder it is for visitors to remember and process the information. Eight items are quite a bit more than seven in this area, and if you have too many, visitors might miss important items.
You should consider breaking up your items into groups if you need to use more than seven of them.
3. Add A Search Bar
If you have a content-heavy site, a great way to improve navigation is to add a custom search bar. This will allow users to quickly and easily find what they’re looking for.
A search bar is a good idea for visitors who are less experienced with browsing the web. The search bar should be kept near the menu.
Your navigation menu may stay in the same place as visitors scroll down your site so they can easily find your site’s content.
4. Label The Menu Bar Clearly
If you want your navigation labels to be effective, make sure they are precise and clear. It is also important to use terminology that your users will understand.
Use specific and descriptive navigation labels so that visitors can easily find the information they are looking for.
In addition to potentially improving search engine rankings, using the correct language in menu navigation is essential.
If there’s too much competition on the internet, we might try to be clever with our copywriting and unintentionally obscure the message.
Remembering your customers and understanding how they might see and understand your messages is extremely important.
Therefore, use the words they will understand.
5. Say No To Crowded Drop-Down Menus
If you plan to have a lot of choices in your drop-down menu, it might be best to create a separate page with all the options. This way, users won’t have to scroll through a long list or try to figure out what everything means.
It is important to make sure that the font and the different categories and subcategories are easy to distinguish.
The space around each item can also be used to show the visitors the difference.
Drop-down menus may be difficult for search engines to crawl, and depending on how they are programmed, they may lead to problems.
Usability studies reveal that dropdown menus are sometimes annoying. The main reason is that visitors tend to move their eyes much faster than they move their mouse.
When someone moves their mouse to a menu item, it’s likely that they’ve already decided to click on it. However, by giving them more options, you’re causing a hiccup in their thought process.
If you’re using dropdowns, you can see in your analytics that people are skipping important pages.
6. Break Your Content Into Categories
If you have a lot of content on your website, you may want to consider using a drop-down menu to help organize everything. This type of menu allows customers to hover over an item on the menu, which then provides a drop-down menu of subcategories to choose from.
If you reduce the number of categories on your menu, it will be easier for consumers to find the information they want.
The users will find this beneficial as they will be able to process the information more rapidly and access the pages they desire more rapidly.
7. Keep The Homepage Navigation Easy
The areas that your potential customers are researching should be the main topic of your website’s headlines and content.
You need to use relevant keywords in the title of your post so that it comes up when people are searching for similar information.
One potential issue with navigation elements that are too small or too close together is that users might accidentally take the wrong action.
8. Be Descriptive
The title of your website pages should not simply be restatements of common terms such as “What we do”, “Products”, “Services”, or “Solutions”. These titles are not descriptive enough and don’t give users a good indication of what they will find on that page. It is better to use key phrases that describe what is actually on the page. This will help with both search engine optimization (SEO) and conversions (getting users to take the desired action on your website).
Hence it is good for both search engines and users if your navigation labels are descriptive.
The navigation bar is an important place for indicating relevance to search engines. The descriptive label on the navigation bar shows Google that your website is truly about that topic. This is important because it appears on every page of your website.
Descriptive labels in your navigation are good for visitors. The navigation bar on your website is prominently displayed and communicates what your company does instantly. Your main products and services are listed in an easily visible manner so that visitors to your site will know they are in the right place.
Your main navigation should be used to give people and search engines an idea of what your website is about. Use labels and keyphrases that are popular and easily understandable.
Note: Avoid labels such as “services” and “solutions.”
You will never rank if you have one page listing all of your services because it is not focused on one topic. You can rank if every page on your website is focused on a topic and key phrase.
People are not looking for products or services specifically, so these labels will not improve your ranking.
A search-optimized website will have a separate page for each service, product, team member, and topic. This is why your website architecture, not just the navigation, is key for SEO.
If you’re creating a “services” page on your website, make sure it includes links to other, search engine optimized pages for each service.
9. Avoid Format-Based Navigation
The wording of navigation labels on a website can give visitors an indication of the type of content they will find there, but not necessarily what the topic of that content will be. People generally don’t go to websites with the intention of only looking for videos or whitepapers; they visit websites hoping to find answers and information.
Labels that indicate the format of something are not helpful to visitors because they are not descriptive.
10. The Order Of Your Website Navigation Is Important
The order of items matters as much as the number of items.
In website navigation, just like any list, items at the beginning and the end are most effective, because this is where attention and retention are highest. It’s called the serial position effect, and it combines two cognitive biases:
The items at the beginning of the list are the easiest to remember.
End items on a list are easier to remember.
Anything we put at the beginning or end of our navigation becomes more prominent. We should put those items that are most important to our business and our visitors in these places.
Always seek to put the things that are most important to visitors in the most visually prominent places.
This aligns with the core principle of web design and content marketing: If you give your visitors what they want, they might then give you what you want.
Begin your navigation with your website’s most popular and important items, as determined by your Google Analytics.
11. How To Optimize Your Website’s Navigation
Designing your navigation is only the beginning. You can use Google Analytics a few weeks later to see how effective it is.
The “navigation summary” or “in-page” view in the Behavior report will show you which navigation items are most used by your visitors. The Behavior Flow / User Flow reports are also useful for this purpose.
In-page Analytics displays small orange boxes next to each navigation item, which shows the percentage of visitors who went to that page from any other page. However, this feature is inaccurate and misleading for several reasons, and can also be buggy.
If this report is not helpful, you can check the “navigation summary” on your home page. This will list the pages and show the percentage of pageviews for each page, which will give you a good idea of what is working in your menu.
The ‘Behavior > Behavior Flow’ and ‘Audience > User Flow’ reports show what users are clicking on your website. The latter includes data from event tracking.
To get more insights into how to use the User Flow report, read the article on top paths through your website.
There are several reports available that give insights into which navigational items are being used by visitors and which ones are being ignored. This information can be used to improve website navigation.
Decisions you might make as a result of your analysis from these reports could include the following.
You should remove any items that rarely get clicked on if they aren’t critical. This will help to declutter your site and make it easier for users to find what they are looking for.
If you have items on your website that are important to you but don’t get many clicks, you should rename or label them so that they are more likely to be clicked on.
Move items that often get clicked to the beginning. An optimized website will have multiple entry points that are not just the home page. This is because many visitors will not start from the home page.
A site that is easy to adjust the labels and order of menus is a good site. If you are not sure if you should make a change, ask an expert web strategist to review your Google Analytics with you.
Your navigation should be effective for both human visitors and search engine robots in order to get the most out of your Google Analytics.