14 advises for how to design your website’s navigation

Date: July 29th, 2011
Author: Good Peace

One of the most important things to keep in mind when designing a website is navigation. You don’t like getting lost in a city you don’t know, do you? Well, neither do your users. You won’t tolerate travelling for two hours just to buy a cup of coffee, will you? Well, neither will your users. In this short article we will provide you with a few guidelines to follow when designing your site.

1. Each page should show the basic structure of your site.

2. Make each action sequence clear and structured. Remember, users don’t know what your website’s back-end is. What you may find to be logical on a technical level may be irrational on a logical level.

3. Keep each screen as clean as possible. Align page elements horizontally or vertically.

4. Be consistent with the placing of important items. Highlighting critical information is a must.

5. Keep your site’s structure as broad and as shallow as possible.

6. Carefully choose your header and bottom of the page. Make sure the user doesn’t get confused that he has reached the top/bottom of the page when he hasn’t.

7. No horizontal scrolling.

8. Links should be self-explanatory.

9. Avoid elements that look clickable, but are not.

10. Make sure that category labels are distinguished from ordinary ones. They should be self-explanatory. Never forget that page titles should be descriptive.

11. Navigation labels should be consistent with page titles/headings. Tooltips are your friends.

12. Heading should be descriptive and consistent throughout the site. This helps users familiarize the site structure.

13. Order items in the lists by importance. Users scan content top-bottom.

14. List ordering should be consistent between pages.

Follow these guidelines and your website’s navigation will be user friendly and intuitive.

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