Technology is just advancing at an amazing speed, isn’t it? The way that we search for things and the websites that we use. In the old days, navigation was just a little strip of pretty colored buttons running down the page. Those days are pretty much gone. . . or are they? Very often those simple navigations that we had ten or fifteen years ago were superior to website navigation today. The reality is that they were simple and it was easy to find what we came for.
Have you ever been to a website that was simply annoying to navigate and it felt like you couldn’t find what you wanted if you stayed a hundred years? Those are the kinds of sites that you simply leave– sometimes leaving a little webmaster feedback on the way out–and you don’t visit them again do you?
Statistics tell us that we have about a minute to offer up the information that our reader came to find before they become impatient and leave our site, very often to not return at all. Website navigation problems are the number one reason why visitors leave sites and find another, easier to use site. That means that you want to get it right the first time.
Web design navigation has some common problems that are seen frequently in older sites and in some brand new ones. The most common problems that are seen are:
Circuitous navigation that doesn’t take you anywhere. One page links to another to another, and the navigation on every page is different. This is frustrating to the user and hard to find what you came for. Once you do find it, you can’t find your way back to the first page.
Navigation that is hidden or hard to find–we’ve all seen this. About a third of the website buttons on the top bar and the remainder buried at the foot of the text on the front page or a content page because someone told them that would make people go deeper into the site. The reality is that sometimes it does. Usually it just annoys them because what they are seeking is not readily apparent. One very popular website company actually recommends this method.
Avoiding those problems means planning ahead. Determining what information you will house and how you will set it up logically to give people a good chance to see it quickly.
Set up the navigation when you build the site. Ideally you will be able to do that but if you can’t, fix what you have or rebuild the site to make it easier for people to find what they want. Website navigation is the be all and end all today.It’s a reason why search engines rank you well and people come back again and again. If you’re not getting the traffic that you want from your website or your bounce rate is inordinately high, ask yourself why.
The search engines today–and your readers– are all about a good experience. They want to find it quickly and read it in bite sized pieces. Hiding the navigation is a problem for both you and the website visitor because it is frustrating to you and that means that you lose customers.
It means that your readers and your prospective customers can find the information that they want easily or the products that they want to buy readily. If that isn’t the case in your website, it’s time for a change.