Website Navigation

Your website's navigation can make or break your visitors' experience. Trying to navigate a website without a logical, well-defined structure is like being dropped in the middle of a complex maze with no map and no sense of direction. It's perplexing, frustrating, and downright unpleasant — not the user experience you're after.

Creating an effective navigation system, on the other hand, is a lot easier said than done. That's why we've listed some suggestions to help users navigate. They'll work to make the best of a bad situation.

What Is the Importance of Website Navigation?

Visitors won’t find your blog, email signup page, product listings, pricing, contact information, or help docs if your website lacks navigation. Begin with the following rule of thumb: A visitor should be able to navigate to any page on your site and find what they're looking for in three clicks.

Navigation is one of the most under-appreciated aspects of user experience and website design. However, this is not the case. Visitors to the website move around a lot. Keep in mind that you want people to stay on your website and browse. Pique their interest and entice them with great offers to get them to click on links.

Web Navigation Types

Website navigation is classified into three types. They make it simple for your visitors to navigate your website and find their way to their desired location when used correctly. Let's get into the specifics.

1. Global Website Navigation

When using global website navigation, the menu and links on all pages of the website are identical. This is how many modern menus are designed.

2. Hierarchical Website Navigation

In hierarchical navigation, the menus change depending on the context of each page. Most newspapers and websites that are solely focused on content use hierarchical navigation. When you open a newspaper, for example, the header menu will usually include links to the most recent news categories.

3. Navigation on a Local Website

Local website navigation, as opposed to hierarchical and global navigation, refers to internal links that are embedded within the content. The user is typically presented with options at the same or lower level of the hierarchy, as well as links to other relevant pages.

Magazine websites, for example, frequently use links to help readers delve deeper into the context of a specific article. If they bring up an incident they've previously covered, they'll link to that article instead of explaining it in detail.

Website Navigation Best Practices

What if you're starting from scratch with your website? Perhaps you've decided to improve website navigation to achieve better results. What should you start with? The truth is that website navigation feeds off of itself, keeping visitors interested in the site. A single omission of website navigation best practices can lead to a conversion loss.

Here's your cheat sheet for the best website navigation techniques. Pay close attention to each one to improve the user experience:

1. Make Hypertext Easy to Find

One of the most common issues is allowing design to get in the way of usability. If visitors can't tell a hyperlink from the body copy, you have a problem. Making hyperlinked text stand out from the rest of the page, rather than just when the visitor rolls over the link, is the simplest way to make it obvious. Make it bold, underline it, or change the color of the font. You can even turn your header navigation links into buttons if you want.

2. Make Your Navigation Bar More User-friendly

Many websites have either many or few subheadings in their header navigation bar. Consider not only what you want visitors to do on your site, but also what they might want. For example, you may want your visitors to convert, but they may also want to learn more about your company or your philosophy. Consider reorganizing your site if your website navigation menu begins to appear cluttered. Include the main heading, followed by a sub-menu with additional links organized beneath it.

3. Separate the Sidebars

A sidebar should not be the same color as the rest of the page's content. It should be obvious. Many websites accomplish this by utilizing color. The designer may choose to use a different background color for the sidebar than for the body copy. White space — or, more accurately, negative space — works well. Make sure there is plenty of space between your sidebar and other elements.

4. Make a Standard Location for Your Navigation

Creativity is admirable, but it must not be sacrificed at the expense of the user experience. Put navigation where people are likely to look for it.
There is a header navigation bar, a sidebar, and a footer. Use those areas to assist visitors in finding what they're looking for. If you want to use creative navigation, such as multimedia, make it clear that visitors can click.

5. Make Everything for the User Clear and Simple

website navigation

Image is taken from Strikingly user’s website

The website navigation menu is not designed for clever or witty tricks. Make your design and text as clear as possible so that visitors know what you're saying. There's a reason most websites' "about us" or "about me" pages are called "About"; it's distinct and easy to remember. Simple words such as "contact" and "services" are in the same category.

6. Don't Forget to Include a Footer

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Image is taken from Strikingly Quantum Template

If you're using WordPress, there are thousands of themes with fat footers available. Make the most of them. You are not required to include dozens of links, but you should make use of the available space. In some cases, you may simply want to repeat the header navigation bar. People will no longer have to scroll up to find the link they seek. The header navigation bar can be expanded as well. Additional links to important pages on your website should be included.

7. Align the Navigation with the Priorities of the Company

While user experience is important, you also want to direct your visitors to the most important conversion and sales pages. Increasing the number of visitors to those critical pages can have a significant impact on your company's bottom line. Maintain a balance between pages that may pique your visitor's interest and links that will guide them through your funnel. Include pages like "About" and "Contact," as well as a link to your blog. Then, if you're selling a mobile app, include a compelling call to action, such as "Download" or "Test Drive" if you're selling a SaaS service.

8. Double-check that the Website Navigation is Mobile-friendly

website navigation

Image is taken from Strikingly user’s website

If your website's navigation does not work on mobile, you're in big trouble. Take advantage of the responsive designs and themes available in every major content management system. Sometimes the website navigation menu is simply tightened. Others include the aforementioned hamburger menu. Make sure the links are large enough to be easily tapped by human hands. It's critical to remember that some people have larger thumbs than others.

9. Save the Buttons for the Call to Action

call to action

Image is taken from Strikingly user’s website

Ten years ago, most websites had header navigation buttons. Today, however, all of that visual clutter feels clumsy. It also makes it impossible to highlight a specific link in your website navigation. Those buttons should only be used for actionable items.

Visitors may be asked to join your email list, watch a product demo, or schedule a call. In any case, make it bolder and brighter than the rest of the links.

Excellent Website Navigation Examples

As previously stated, there is no "correct" way to design a website navigation bar as long as it allows your visitors to find the information they need and encourages them to take action — whether that action is to purchase, donate, or create an account. Let's take a look at some of the best website navigation examples that do just that.

Propa Beauty

propa beauty

Image is taken from Propa Beauty

Propa Beauty's horizontal navigation bar is intended to generate sales or convert visitors into members. Its logo is located on the left. In the center, there is a link to its product archive page. On the right, three icons represent a search box, a link to a member login page, and a link to a shopping cart, in that order.

NWP

NWP

Image is taken from NWP

NWP is another eCommerce site that uses a horizontal navigation bar. The NWP website navigation bar, in contrast to Propa Beauty, is a combined menu. When the page loads, only the primary navigation links are visible. When you hover your mouse pointer over "Shop," a dropdown menu appears, listing the various clothing sub-categories available on the site.

∙ The Shade Room

 the shade room

Image is taken from Shade Room

The Shade Room also uses two distinct types of navigation menus. At the top of the page, a standard horizontal header appears. A hamburger button can be found to the right of the header. When you click this button, a secondary navigation interface appears to the right. This behaves similarly to a lightbox popup in that it blocks some of the content while dimming the rest of the background. It also includes more navigation links to assist you in navigating the site.

How do I Customize the Header/Navigation Menu on Strikingly?

Strikingly navigation

Image is taken from Strikingly

A well-organized navigation system makes it easier for visitors to navigate your website. You want to keep this section of your business website templates as clutter-free as possible. Pages and sections should be organized in the order of importance, and menu options should be kept to a minimum. This enables your customers to focus solely on the most important messages on your website without becoming overwhelmed by the options. The navigation menu on Strikingly is simple to use. On Strikingly, use the Styles editor to customize website templates and choose a navigation bar format. Your navigation menu can be customized in various ways, including layout, spacing, color, and font size. Here are just a few of the many layout options available.

  • Keep your navigation bar at the top for a more classic look, and if you have longer content, consider keeping the menu fixed at the top so it stays there no matter how far down your visitor scrolls.

Strikingly navigation

Image is taken from Strikingly

Strikingly navigation
Image is taken from Strikingly

  • If your website contains an excessive amount of graphics, as in the case of online portfolios, you may want to consider using vertical navigation instead. This is especially useful for menu items with longer titles or if you have a large number of menu entries.

Strikingly navigation

Image is taken from Strikingly

Conclusion

The majority of websites have an excessive number of links in their header navigation bar. We frequently take it for granted. Instead of simply copying other websites because they look nice, determine which navigational elements are most important to your company and your target audience. Include links to websites that are appealing to both groups of people. You understand that you want people to take advantage of your offers and buy your products, but your target market may not be ready. Navigational links should provide additional reasons for them to stay on your website. Using Snapshots, Recordings, and A/B tests, you can fine-tune your website navigation and ensure you provide the best possible user experience to your audience.