Tips to Optimise the Navigation on Your Website
All websites need both a planned out navigational structure as well as navigational elements, i.e. menus. How do you ensure the navigation on your website is fully optimised? What do you need to do to your website’s navigation to optimise its performance?
The following nine tips are essential to optimise website navigation. The company you use for website design in Auckland will need to be involved in the implementation of some of them but, as it’s your website, you should know the elements and features that should be included.
1. Optimise both the mobile and desktop versions of your site
Never think first about the desktop version of your website’s navigation while leaving the mobile version to last. They are both equally important. In fact, if most of your website traffic accesses your site using a mobile device, you should consider optimising for mobile first.
2. Remember the most important objective of your website’s navigation
There are a lot of business owners whose primary focus when considering their website’s navigation is to showcase all their services, products, and other essential business information. These things are important, of course, but there is something that is even more important.
Your website’s visitors.
The most important objective of your website’s navigation is to ensure visitors can quickly and easily find what they are looking for. You should approach every decision with this in mind.
3. Create a Sitemap
A sitemap plans out the hierarchy of your website’s pages. This usually starts at the top with your home page and then moves down to one and sometimes two levels below. There are two things to remember when it comes to sitemaps:
- Make sure you create one early in the website design process. Your website designer in Auckland will be able to advise you, but you will need to make the final decision.
- Don’t go any deeper than two levels below your home page. What does this mean? Imagine the main menu on a website – that is one level. If an item on that menu has a sub-menu, that is the second level. Don’t go lower than that, i.e. sub-menus of sub-menus. If you have a complex website structure and/or lots of content, the tip below will help.
4. Keep drop-down menus as simple as possible
Instead of having sub-menus of sub-menus, create a page. Visitors can navigate to that page from the main menu where they will find the rest of the options and what they are looking for.
5. Add a menu to your footer that includes all the important pages on your website
You should have a footer menu and it should be big. In particular, it should contain links to all the main pages on your website, including those not in your main menu.
6. Make the most important pages on your site the most visual in the menu
This is to make it as easy as possible for visitors to find those pages. Remember, though, the second point on this list, i.e. “most important” ideally means most important to visitors.
7. Add breadcrumbs to your website
Breadcrumbs are fantastic UX (user experience) enhancing tools, so make sure you add them as a navigational element.
8. Fix the main menu to the top of the page
Fixing the main menu to the top of the page ensures it stays visible to the visitor as they scroll. This is another UX feature that enhances the experience of visitors and helps them quickly and easily find what they are looking for.
9. Test your menus rather than just assuming they’re okay
Finally, make sure you test your website’s navigation on various devices, including phones and tablets. On phones, it’s important to test on both Android and iOS devices. Getting feedback from users can be invaluable too.