Navigation is a key component of a website. It’s like a road map to all the different areas and information contained within the website. It affects traffic and search engine rankings. It also affects conversions and user-friendliness.
Ask yourself a question: Can your user easily locate the primary navigation area? Having the navigation in an area where people expect it makes your site easier to use. The navigation isn’t the place where you want to show off how innovative you are. Moreover, the navigation should be consistent on every page within the site (location, size, colors).
Limit the number of items in your menu. It’s good for visitors and search engines. The number of items in the menu should not exceed 7 items and should only be 3 levels deep.
Compare these examples to see the difference.
Is it clear for your user where he currently is in the navigation? Indicate where the user is by marking a proper navigation element. Breadcrumb navigation might be very useful as well.
A hyperlink is a reference to data that the reader can directly follow either by clicking or by hovering. This element can link to another place in the same document or to an entirely different document.
Make sure that the links on your website looks like… links. Or the other way around – make sure, that items, that are not links are not confusing your user by looking like proper ones.
Use descriptive link titles, avoid links like: “read more’'”, “here”, etc. That’s particularly good for SEO.
Clearly indicate what will happen if the link is doing something else than simply redirecting to another page (e.g. if it links to PDF documents or is triggering videos).
Check if the clickable area is large enough to use it easily on multiple devices. Especially on mobile devices.
Are you thinking about having your own website? In this serie of guidelines we will give you an overview of all the essentials when setting up a new website.
Read also: our usability guidelines about standard websites elements and forms