Published On: Sun, Aug 25th, 2019

7 Websites Navigation Mistakes Your Business Should Never Make

When it comes to website design, your site navigation might not be the first things that comes to mind. Instead, you might be considering the colors, photos, layout, and text that comprise your overall website. The simple navigation panel at the top of the page barely lends an air of concern. However, you may not realize it, but your navigation—the very site map and foundation of your site—is key to a seamless user experience. 

Each time a visitor visits your website, you want them to make intuitive clicks and movements. Knowing where to go and how to get there is key. And yet, so many business owners make crucial mistakes that lower engagement rates and increase bounce rates. These errors—however tiny—can mean the difference between a sale and a lost opportunity. No matter how much time you spend customizing the perfect design or how much money you’ve invested into upgrading your hosting plan for a speedy site, your efforts will prove futile if you don’t pay attention to core components like navigation. With that in mind, here are seven website navigation mistakes you never want to make: 

photo/ Gerd Altmann via pixabay

1) Using Wrong Terminology 

There’s a certain terminology people come to expect when they visit a webpage. What visitors expect when it comes to terminology will, of course, depend on your industry and the nature of your website. The goal is to use language that people understand. 

For example, if you had a business that focused on science, you might use the term “Articles” or “Studies” to describe the page where your content lives, whereas a lifestyle ecommerce site would simply use the word “Blog.” Similarly, an ecommerce store would use the term “Store,” “Products,” or “Shop,” instead of a term like “Marketplace.”

2) Ignoring Mobile Navigation Best Practices

First and foremost, your website needs to be responsive if you plan to leverage each site visitor. Currently, the majority of Google searches are conducted via mobile devices. This means your website navigation should be easily accessible no matter the type of device or screen size the end user has. Good mobile navigation creates a seamless user experience and also helps increase your SEO. By incorporating some of the other tips here—like putting your most important pages at the top of the navigation and keeping your menu items short—you can ensure you’re optimized for mobile. 

3) Out of Order Navigation

If you’ve never heard of the serial position effect, now is a good time to learn. The serial position effect is based on the principle that most people will remember the first and last items in a series. This well-known theory should also apply to your navigation. How you put your pages in order will make all the difference. The most important page should, of course, be first. But as mentioned, the last page should also be an important area. These are the pages visitors will retain the most. As such, businesses typically make their “Contact” page the last on the list. 

4) Too Many Menu Items & Dropdown Options

Drop down menus might seem like a useful feature to you, but according to usability studies, dropdowns tend to be frustrating for users. Because our eyes move faster than our hands, we typically know what we want to click before the click is complete. But once you attempt to click on something and are faced with another list of options, it becomes more of an annoying process. 

However, if your site—especially ecommerce businesses—have plenty of options to choose from, having more options in your dropdown can actually be beneficial. Tailored, efficiently categorized options work well when it helps organize product offerings. Service-based businesses, on the other hand, should stick to a smaller amount of menu items and dropdown options. 

5) Not Paying Attention to Footers

There are some pages of your website that are better left in the footers. This includes things like “Privacy,” “Terms & Conditions,” “Careers,” and “Public Relations.” If you were to have all of these options at the top of your navigation, your panel would quickly become overcrowded. Take advantage of your footer; many users will scroll directly to the bottom of a website because they are accustomed to finding lower-level pages and contact details in this area. 

6) Using Buttons

Never use buttons as a replacement for text. Buttons might seem cool and artistic, but they are far from intuitive. Button-based navigations are outdated, and difficult for Google and site visitors to understand. These are also slower to load on mobile, and can be difficult to navigate for those who are visually impaired. 

7) Putting Your Panel in the Wrong Place

Every once in a while, you come across a website that has a navigation menu in a place that most people aren’t accustomed to. If your menu is anywhere other than the top of the page or on the left side, chances are your visitor will miss it. There are plenty of ways to be creative and help your menu stand out, but this isn’t one of them. 

Author: Ravi Kumarr Gupta

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