10 ways to optimize your website's navigation
Last modified: 2018/08/14 | Approximate reading time 6 mins
When considering the aspects that contribute to the quality of a website, one should not forget to include the user's experience with its navigation.
It is extremely important to understand the importance of this aspect. With that in mind, what can be done to optimize the navigation of a website? Here are a few important elements to start with:
Optimizing your website's navigation
Elements in order of importance
When trying to figure out the best way to improve your website's navigation, start by asking yourself which are the important elements that you would like to feature. The answer to this question will help you determine the structure that should be used for the site's layout. Always keep in mind that the most important elements must be located at the top of the page if you wish for visitors to notice them.
In the same vein, prioritizing your content is paramount. Like a table of contents for a book, your website must be organized logically so that the reader can quickly know where the different information blocks are found. Take the time to elaborate a list of the main points which will be addressed on your site, as well as a list of additional information that corresponds to each one of these.
The visual elements that influence your website's navigation
Although we tend to neglect the importance of visual elements in terms of the website's user experience, this is a serious mistake. A pleasant navigation also includes the pleasure of seeing aesthetically-pleasing images. Choose attractive images that represent the type of content to which they are associated.
Visual elements: yes, but how many?
If we can admit the fact that images are important aspects of a website, too many visual elements will actually make the navigation experience more complicated. The best way to lose your visitors is to overload your pages with images, videos or advertisements of all forms. Not only is this unpleasant from an aesthetic point of view, but it will also to make the important elements less easy to spot.
Stick to visual elements that will help your website's conversion rate or that support the written content on your website. No matter what type of service or product you are offering, know that avoiding the overabundance of visual elements is one of the aspects to take into account in order to have a good-looking website.
Your website's colour scheme
But what about your website's colours? By staying true to the idea of sobriety that must emerge from your website, it is recommended that you opt for pale colours. This will not cause your visitors to feel unsettled, and will also keep the focus on the important elements. Moreover, your website will have a nice modern and professional look to it.
Organized content for an efficient navigation experience
It is no longer a secret that the majority of web users who visit a website do not read the articles that are there in their entirety. But why? Since everyone's time is precious, the user who comes to your site is often looking for specific information.
Therefore, articles that are long with poorly divided paragraphs and no contrasting elements will affect the navigation of visitors who will instead spend all of their time trying to locate the information they are looking for. Feel free to include bold text to showcase key information, and to vary the size of the writing characters. Also, note that content should be grouped into paragraphs not exceeding 5 or 6 lines.
Tabs: a major factor influencing the quality of the site's navigation
Tabs that are relevant and easy to identify
Having quick access to the information you are looking for is essential to the user experience. To do this, visitors must be able to quickly identify where to click. Also, try to create tabs that match the shape and colour of your site's design, whilst making sure they are visible and easily identifiable.
In the same perspective, try to use concise tab titles that reflect the main subject of the page to which they are pointing. Relevance will, therefore, be a key aspect if you wish for your readers to find answers to their questions. Drop the generalities that leave a doubt about the real objective that is being pursued.
How many elements in a menu?
Before delving into this part of the article, keep in mind that only the main elements of your site should be featured on your menu. As an indication, be aware that 5 to 6 titles should be sufficient. Beyond this figure, it is possible that users will lose their patience when searching for where they should click to get their hands on the information they are looking for.
Regarding drop-down menus, 4 or 5 pages should also be enough. If the design of your site lends itself to it, it may also be relevant to adopt this type of menu, which tends to lighten the visual load of the site. Less important elements can be relegated to the bottom of the page.
The order in which the tabs are placed
In keeping with the ideas mentioned before, you must be logical concerning the order of the tabs, regardless of the type of menu you choose to select. Ask yourself: as a user, what are the steps you would take when arriving at your site?
Although several answers are possible, constants will appear, notably including the fact that the contact page would not be the first tab towards which you would go. Instead, you would first consider targeting information on a particular topic or service that would meet your immediate needs.
However, since the main goal of your site is to encourage action by your users, it is important to make sure that the contact forms are accessible. At no time should it be necessary to search for the form; the user must arrive easily after reading the information that interests him.
Therefore, any page containing informative content for the user must imperatively include a link leading to a landing page which includes a contact form. In order for the latter to convince your visitors to take action, certain rules must be applied.
Additional advice to optimize your website's navigation
Include a main page
While some sites do not have a homepage, it is still essential for the visitor to know exactly who the site is for and whether you will be able to respond to their requests. If you missed this step while creating your website, rectify this situation as soon as possible, as this represents the starting point of any pleasant navigation experience. After all, who would want to do business with a company that does not bother to present itself properly?
Add a search bar to avoid wasted time
Despite all your efforts, it may be difficult for a user whose search object is very precise not to arrive directly on the page corresponding to his request. To avoid a frustrating loss of time, include a search bar. The latter will limit the hurried departure of your visitors and the loss of potential customers.
Adapt your website to the different platforms
Since different types of mobile devices have certain specificities in relation to their content, it is imperative to consider this factor if you want your site to display correctly on all available platforms. Otherwise, the quality of the user experience will be compromised.
Increase your website's download speed
Whenever possible, try to optimize your website to minimize the load time. A site with a rather long page loading speed will test the patience of your visitors, which will certainly make you lose customers. Be sure to choose a type of web hosting that suits your needs so that response times are acceptable.
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