Importance of Website Navigation
December 29, 2022
Website navigation is an essential part of web design. A transparent navigation system gives visitors confidence in finding what they are looking for with ease, increasing the time that they stay on a site. It should act as a clear guide for users to follow, resulting in a positive user experience. Top Design Firms (2021) reports that when looking at a site for the first time, 38% of consumers look at a page’s layout or navigational links. If a site has a confusing navigation system, a risk of repelling returning visitors arises.
A website navigation menu consists of links to other web pages (typically internal). When deciding what pages to include within a website navigation, it is important to consider what is most important to the business, and what they want visitors to initially see. However, that’s not to say that there are not typical pages to include. Some common pages that are often presented may include: home, about, blog, contact, etc. Each link should encompass information related to its title and/or include related subpages.
When website navigation is not organized in a coherent way, it can be detrimental to the site in general. The Nielsen Norman Group states that users will often leave websites within 10-20 seconds. However, this number can change depending on site usability. If visitors find sites difficult to use, or are not presented with intended information in a clear and concise manner, they are likely to click out and find a different site. In this day and age, users have little patience, and want answers to their inquiries almost immediately. In fact, it only takes 0.05 seconds for users to form an opinion about a site, before deciding to stay or leave.
With this all in mind, it is important to stay on top of website navigation, and view it from the visitors point of view. Is it easy to follow? Are the links home to logical information? Is the navigation system concise enough to not be considered overwhelming? These questions should be top of mind when designing a website.