Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Best Practices for Website Navigation from Web Branding

One of the most important keys when considering Website Navigation is to remember the golden three step rule. It should take a visitor no more than three clicks to access absolutely any part of a website. This design strategy should always remain in the back of your mind when formulating the navigation of a website.

Other main points of consideration are as follows:

Clear Layout

Simple is invariably best. If within the design process you think for one second your information is too cramped and the layout is somehow unclear. STOP, and revaluate. The most successful websites work well because a clear and simple layout means a user can easily navigate and find what they’re looking for

Colour Scheme

Beware of using colours that clash. For instance if you used red text with a black background this makes it extremely difficult to read, likewise using text that is too faint or bright. Test an number of options on family and friends and see which version gets the thumbs up.

Ample Links

Links form the basis of the internet itself and as a result is very important. Remember the golden three step rule mentioned in the introduction. Don’t be afraid to use links within your text. Most users will scan a website until they reach a point of interest; try to make all notable sections of text linked to relevant pages.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with having more than one link to the same location within the same page. In fact it is highly recommended, you are simply doubling the chances that a user will be able to find the information they are looking for quicker. Take advantage of a clear navigation bar either at the top or down the left hand side of your page. Smaller links are common for the bottom of the page and will certainly do no harm. The more links the better but remember the ‘Clear Layout’ point made earlier, f it starts looking too cramped, STOP, and revaluate.

Informative Content

Keep your content clear and to the point. If the use of a diagram, picture or even video would result in less text on your page, DO IT!
Make use of clear Call to Actions. Every website has a purpose and it is the job to ensure that the visitor to your site knows what it is. End all prominent sections with a clear statement that makes your intentions 100% clear.

Type of Visitor

Whose this website aimed at? Try and get inside the mind of your average visitor. What would they expect to see? What would they like to find? Ask many questions about your ideal visitor. If you are able to master this, your conversion rates will flourish and your traffic will soar.
User Interface
The more a user can experience, learn, engage and feel part of a website the more successful and appealing the website will be. Features such as polls, comment boxes, seo brochures, video tutorials, links and online games are just a handful of the vast collection of user interface applications to help hold your potential audience.
When all these factors are intelligently combined, a website’s navigation will run smoothly like a well oiled engine.

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