Blog 23/11/2014

HOW MANY LINKS IN A NAVIGATION BAR?

There was a time in web design where everything had to be above the fold. So web designers crammed in lots of information in the header, navigation bar and top carousel. How times have changes. It is still slightly controversial, but really the fold no longer exists as scrolling is easier. That is not to say you should drop down important information, priority is still key, but you should avoid massive navigation and packing up the header.

How many links is too many?

There is not a one design fits all navigation bar. It is dependant on your business. When planning your website bear in mind the user journey. If your business does interior design and sells products – these should both be in the top navigation. In fact these alone could be in your top navigation, if they are the two areas you would prefer your user to go. ‘Delivery’, ‘about us’, ‘contact us’ could indeed be secondary links. We think quickly when we are online we do not need lots of choice so keep it limited.

Should ‘home’ be a part of the navigation?

Sometimes yes, most of the time no. As we become more web savvy most people know to click the logo to go home. Having the words ‘homepage’ as one of your links is a definite no, it is not the 90s.

How about drop down menus?

If you are a department store or clothing website with thousands of products lets keep it easy for the customer. Breaking down the navigation into catergories is very useful and dropdown menus help this. This means you can still keep your primary navigation simple – SHOP ONLINE | VISIT US – how simple is that? the dropdown navigation holds all the categories, and sometimes even some extra call to action.

Wording and navigation

Don’t try to be too clever with wording in navigation keep it simple – if you have an ‘online shop’ call it that, if you have an ‘about us’ section call it that. Fine to differentitate it, so long as it isn’t confusing. The best book on user experience ever is ‘Don’t Make Me Think’ by Steve Krug. This doesn’t just apply to the navigation it applies to the whole website. Do the thinking for your customer, direct them, help them, don’t let them get lost in choice or on the website.

When Navigation gets complex

If you are a company doing lots of things – navigation starts to get more important as does the site navigation. Web designers and UX designers often come across issues and sort out complex issues with navigation bars which completely change the conversion rates and make websites easier to use. One problem we have come across a few times is websites which sell some items online but others you have to go into the shop. We never mix these up. Advanceed user testing showed us how many people dropped off a website as they were confused by this. Rather than constantly explaining, the website is designed with this in mind.

GOOD SOURCES OF INFORMATION FOR UX EXPERIENCE:

READ STEVE KRUG – DON’T MAKE ME THINK

five books later on UX design it is still a firm favourite!