The following article is about Designing the Perfect Navigation Bar. Arguably the most important element of a website, the navigation bar is the starting point for users to browse your website. Thus, it is extremely critical to design the most simple and user friendly navigation menus and follow some basic guidelines and usability conventions.
- 1 A Bad Navigation Bar Can Drive Away Your Users Forever
- 2 Tips to Design the Perfect Navigation
- 3 Finalize on the Content First
- 4 Always remember the KISS (Keep it Simple Silly) Principle
- 5 Limit Navigation Tabs
- 6 Have Call to Action on the Right
- 7 One-level Navigation Bars
- 8 Mega Drop-down Navigation Bars
Although most web designers and developers agree to this, you can still see numerous websites with complex or poorly built navigation. According to a study conducted by User Interface Engineering, users are unable to find the relevant information for as much as 60% of the time. This is a whopping number, especially if you have an online business where every customer counts.
According to Forrester research as much as 40% of the users do not return to the site if they had a bad first experience. The most common hurdles that users report are frustrating hover errors, inconsistencies and difficult to understand.
The following details will help you design the most efficient navigation bar that will help your users browse easily through your website.
Finalize on the Content First
Even the most experienced web designers and web professionals make the mistake of first designing the website and then putting the content. This is not a good idea. Always check the content first and depending upon the content, finalize the design. It is important to organize and structure the content first before the design process begins.
Always remember the KISS (Keep it Simple Silly) Principle
The simpler the navigation, the better it is. It is preferable to use standard formats as users are used to browsing them. If your navigation makes your users think before, then you have got it wrong. Also, use labels that are short and easy to understand. Instead of saying ‘Let’s Talk’, it is recommended to use ‘Contact Us’. Do not at any cost use long phrases that consume too much space on the website.
If you have a navigation that consists of more than seven tabs then you certainly need to rethink it. The ideal navigation menu must comprise of a maximum of six main tabs. These tabs are sufficient to organize all your content, any more and it will severely hamper readability and usability.
Have Call to Action on the Right
People read from left to right and expect the Call to Action to be located on the right side after they finish reading.
These are the simplest and most basic form of navigation. The Apple website is a great example of such navigation that makes it very easy to browse.
One of the latest trends to hit the web industry, these navigations are usually only about two levels deep. The second level navigation has a broad panel that displays images or multiple links that explains the category better.
These are some of the key navigation design tips that will not only make browsing easier for your users but also help you increase conversions and time on site.