Don’t underestimate the power of your website navigation menu. With every Semi-Custom or Custom Website there is strategy and purpose behind every design. And the website navigation is also created with strategy in mind. Here are some do’s and don’ts for your website navigation menu.
Do: Use Clear Page Names
Though you may want to be creative in naming your pages, I suggest otherwise. Creativity should never come at the expense of user-friendliness. Maybe you’ve considered titling your Testimonials page “Client Love” or your Contact page “Send Us a Note.” The more clear and straightforward the page names within your navigation menu are, the better. This not only helps visitors understand what kind of information is on that page, but this can also be helpful for Search Engine Optimization.
Don’t: Hide Your Navigation
Your visitors should have a clear direction on where to go next. This includes your desktop website navigation menu. In order to save space, you may be tempted to use the hamburger menu (those 3 horizontal lines) that hides navigation by default and makes it visible when clicked on. It’s better to avoid using the hamburger menu (on desktop – mobile is another matter) because some visitors won’t click on the icon. Hidden navigation increases task completion time for visitors, the Nielsen Norman Group warns. Remember the old saying, out of sight, out of mind.
Do: Limit Your Main Navigation to 6-8 Links
Typically, when creating a website navigation menu I include 6 pages: Home, About, Services, Portfolio, Blog, and Contact. Depending on what your needs are you may include a shop, educational resources, and podcasts — so this may go up to 8 pages. You may be thinking, “How do I condense my navigation down to 6-8 links?”. This leads me to my last tip…
Don’t: Use Dropdown Menus
So you’ve limited your main navigation to 6-8 links, but you were sneaky and hid your remaining pages in a dropdown menu. Avoid doing this. You want your website visitors to be able to navigate your website easily with as little hovering and extra clicking as possible.
So how do you do this? Condense similar pages into one single page. If your website has an About Page, Our Story Page, Our Team page, consider one page for all of these. By clearly defining each section using headings — all of those details can be included on one single About page. Instead of one single testimonial page, sprinkle testimonials throughout the other pages of your website. This way whether visitors are looking at your Services Page, or learning about your business on your About Page, the experience others have had working with you will be noted wherever visitors may be.
Have these tips changed the way you view your navigation menu, and the role it plays within your web design? What questions do you have about your website’s navigation menu? Let me know by dropping a comment below or on Instagram @openbookdesignco.