Your website’s navigation menu is a critical piece of how visitors will (or will not) interact with your site content. Your goal with your website’s navigation is to create experience for the user that is simple, intuitive and fits their needs as they browse. However, some websites find that a simple navigation could be a challenging task. Find out if your website’s navigation is too difficult for users!
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4 Website Navigation Mistakes To Avoid
As with any piece of your website design, placement is key for user experience. When it comes to navigation menus, you don’t want to get creative. Many companies make the mistake of trying new placements for their navigation in order to be different or look unique. This is a big problem for users! When you get to a website there are certain things you expect to see and it gets very confusing when they are not placed where you are used to. It’s very rare that this element of surprise delights website users. If a user can’t find what they are looking for on a website within minutes (or even less), they will leave. Place your main navigation menu at the top of the page where users expect it so they are able to jump right into what they came there to do!
2. Too many items in your main navigation
When it comes to navigation, don’t try to be everything for everyone. Utilize user testing, heat maps and click maps to identify the areas where your visitors are going to most on your website. Your navigation should be there for the users and their needs, not your own assumptions or choices. While making sure it’s easy for visitors to find what they need also keep in mind that you don’t want the navigation to overwhelm them. Including every single page within your menu and drop down can be overload for the visitor, making it difficult for them to go through their own buyer’s journey. Top pages such as About Us, Services, Products, Reviews and a Contact page are typically the best main navigation items to start with. You can then begin using user experience testing and softwares such as HotJar to review heatmaps and scrolling. This testing will give you an idea of really what visitors are doing on your website so you can cater your navigation experience for them!
*Screenshot from HotJar
3. Too many options in your dropdown menu
Just as having too many items in your main navigation will confuse visitors - the same goes for your dropdown menu. Other than confusion, your drop down menu can block important parts of the website if it’s too long or large. Many websites decide to put all of their subpages listed in their drop down but this is not the best idea. You want to include subpages that makes sense and are important to the buyer in their research and decision making stages. From those main pages, you can include calls to actions, buttons and links within the page to other subpages that will help a buyer continue their journey. Think about how your customer will explore your information and what they would want more of on each page. You want a natural flow of information rather than a forced interaction by listing all the pages right there on the menu.
4. Logo Doesn’t Link Back To Homepage
This website navigation mistake may seem like a no-brainer but you’d be surprised how many websites forget this easy step. Today’s users expect your website’s logo to be placed in the upper left corner, large enough to see on each and every page they visit on your website. This logo should link back to the homepage as an easy “back” button for users. Placing the logo in a unique area of the site (the middle of the navigation or lower on the page) may seem different and new but this will confuse users. Stick to the basics when it comes to the logo and place it where people expect it and link it right back to the home page.
Also, remember that because your logo links to your homepage, you don’t need a navigation item for “Home”. It’s instinct for users to assume the logo will bring them there, so don’t waste the space in the menu with a “Home” item.
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