Navigation Practices III

Navigation Practices III
02 March 2024     532

Navigation Practices III

First impressions matter, and your website navigation plays a crucial role in shaping that initial perception. Just like a poorly designed map can lead to frustration and lost time, confusing navigation can send visitors scrambling for the exit button. We will delve into five common navigation mistakes that hinder usability and explore practical solutions to refine your user journeys. We have previously written two blogs on the topic, which you can check out right here (1, 2).

1. CTAs

We have all encountered the website landscape littered with generic "Learn More" buttons. This one-size-fits-all approach fails to capitalize on the opportunity to tailor the call to action (CTA) for each section. Which dilutes its impact. Imagine instead, a website where CTAs dynamically shift, morphing between various labels and signals that accurately explain its purpose and importance.

The more targeted approach speaks directly to the user intent at that specific stage of their journey, using action verbs and clear language to guide them towards their desired outcome. CTAs are gateways to conversion, so ensure they provide a personalized and relevant pathway forward.

a pic of a website

2. Less is More

Encountering a seemingly endless scroll on a website is basically a daunting wall of text stretching as far as the eye can see. It also tends to run worse. The marathon of scrolling discourages exploration and increases bounce rates like nobodys business.

Prioritize information hierarchy, placing essential content above the fold and minimizing the need for excessive scrolling. Think of it like creating a navigable city; key landmarks (your most important content) should be readily accessible, with clear signposts (section breaks, concise summaries) guiding users further. Utilize strategic internal linking to connect related content across the website, weaving a web of information that users can explore without feeling lost in a labyrinth.

Do not overdo the amount of web pages or categories. If it fits well within the general scheme and narrative, then go ahead and add that page.

3. Too Many Categories

a website schema

When people first visit your website, they wanna quickly find the most important bits. This is greatly complicated if you have 10+ categories affixed to your header or footer. Especially since there is real no established norm regarding which categories are where. Cut down on needless ones and try to find a coherence between the various web pages. Which leads us to our next point.

4. Category Coherence

Imagine navigating a department store where clothing, electronics, and groceries are jumbled together. Finding what you are looking for would likely be complicated by this type of chaotic ordering.This lack of coherence is precisely what happens when unrelated content is mixed within categories on a website.

Maintain thematic consistency within each category. Grouping similar products, articles, or resources creates a sense of order and predictability. Users know what to expect within each category, reducing cognitive load and allowing them to focus on finding the specific information they need.


5. Creativity

While creativity can be important, pushing boundaries in website navigation is usually a risky path. Users have ingrained expectations based on common website conventions. Imagine the confusion if every website had a completely unique navigation system!

Focus on making the design intuitive, instead of relying on creativity where established norms could help you out in a more effective manner. Stick to familiar navigation patterns like horizontal or vertical menus, hamburger menus on mobile, and clear search bars. This user-centric approach creates an environment where users can focus on exploring your content, not deciphering a complex navigation system. Creativity has its uses, but it should rarely, if ever, find its use by scrapping user-centric approaches.

Effective website navigation is not just about aesthetics; it is moreso about understanding user needs and creating a journey that is intuitive, efficient, and ultimately, satisfying.