The menu on your website takes up only a small amount of space. But it is arguably the most important element of your site. It carries the responsibility of not only telling visitors everything your site contains, but also how to find it. This means your website navigation has the power to affect user experience for the better or worse. It can affect how long users stay on your site, pages they visit, and how easily they find important information.
When providing thoughtful navigation, easy-to-use websites encourage users to spend more time on the site, which promotes more clicks and better lead generation. So not only does website navigation impact user experience, but it also has a bearing on your Search Engine Optimization.
As you can see, website navigation is an important piece of screen real estate. With all this influence bound up in such a small package, it’s worthwhile to put extra thought and attention into how your site navigation is presented to your site visitors. Here are a few tips to consider.
Less is more
It may be tempting to add prestige to your site by adding as many pages and navigation options as possible. Unfortunately, this mentality is likely to work against you. Psychologists have found that the human brain is really only effective at storing up to seven items in short-term memory. For websites, this means a single navigation bar with six or seven menu items is the most you can afford without risking confusion.
In general, removing items from your site makes other things more prominent. It’s a good idea to save screen (and mental) real estate by promoting only the most important things on your site.
Be thoughtful and strategic
If your website were a building, menu items would be the doors… And you don’t want people to get lost! When a user reaches your site for the first time, your menu should help users find the most important things about your site as quickly as possible. This means you need to be strategic in how you lay out your pages. Users should not have to click more than 2-3 times to find the important content on your site.
When people are presented with a list of items, they tend to focus on the items at the beginning and end of the list. Psychologists call this the “serial position effect.” Placing your most important menu items at the beginning or end of the list may ensure they are noticed by site visitors.
In planning out your site structure, it might be a good idea to create a site map (an outline that depicts the main menu and submenu items) to organize and refine the vital information on your website.
Revisit your work
Digital ink is never dry. Internet trends come and go as we learn more about how people interact with new technologies. It always pays to keep on top of current design trends and how to take advantage of them.
CCH Site Builder provides a quick and easy way to set-up and maintain a marketing website. Contact your sales rep to learn more about ready-made CCH Site Builder websites or about partnering with one of our professional web designers to customize a site for your firm. We make it easy for you to have the most attractive and intuitive site possible.