Web Design and Development – Simplify Navigation to Attract and Keep Those Visitors

Clear and easy navigation is a central part of effective website design. Effective navigation can enhance user experience, build trust and loyalty and add to your client base. Conversely, difficulty in accessing information and outdated links can greatly degrade the reputation of your business and make you lose your customers.

Before you start designing your website, determine the number of pages it will have, the content of each page and how the pages will be linked to each other. Linked pages should use consistent font styles, graphics and colors. You can also look at the styles, colors and graphics of other popular websites and how they change from one link the next. There should never be any conflicting information on linked pages, as this can negatively influence your reputation and diminish your client base. Additionally, a web page must have all relevant links to enhance customer experience and satisfaction.

Quick and Easy Search

Your website should be designed in a way that it facilitates quick and easy search of desired information. In general, it should not take more than two to three clicks for customers to access the required information. If they cannot easily find what they are looking for, and have to browse through several pages before reaching their search items, they will get bored and turn their attention to other websites. Easy search capabilities make visitors’ browsing experience an enjoyable one.

As a rule of thumb, do not use more than five navigation bars. Additionally, provide options for your customers to review previously viewed content areas without having to use three or four links. In other words, it is always advisable to provide a link to the homepage on every web page of your site. Site maps can help customers and search engines to find web pages on your sites.

Selecting Navigation Links

Depending on the types of your business, you may need to provide links to different elements. The commonly highlighted elements include customer testimonials, return, guarantee, privacy and warrantee policies, credentials, discount and promotional offers, contact information, shipping cost, tracking information, site maps and the like.

Personalizing Navigation

It is always a good practice to personalize your website design and navigation to make your web pages more intuitive. Let us say you run a pet care service. Navigation buttons at the top of the page may include Home, Cat owners, Dog owners, Services, Rates, Contact. The faster your customers can navigate through your website and find what they are looking for, the more likely you are to get repeat visits from them.

Adding Links for Alternative Online Payment Methods

If you are selling products or services through your website, you should provide your customers with an alternative payment option. This could include an online order form and fax line or toll-free number. This gives cautious customers who do not want to use their credit cards online, an excellent payment option. This link should be included along with all other payment links.

Testing your Navigation Scheme

Once you implement a navigation scheme, get your friends, family and customers to test it out. Get people of different ages and backgrounds to use your website and evaluate the link and navigation structure. Their feedback will help you to assess its effectiveness and how it can be improved and refined. Further, your website links should be functional on more than one browser, for instance, Firefox and Internet Explorer.

Monitoring Links

Regularly monitor your links to ensure proper functionality. Outdated links are annoying and may seriously affect your business reputation.

Simplicity and logical consistency in your navigation design makes it easy for customers to search desired pages and also puts your business in the best light and wins loyalty for your brand.