‘Internet’ with passing tide has been reduced to a mere quest to achieve perfection. Blame it on level on fierce competition that we have in the market today, there are millions of websites now trying their level best to grab the attention of a prospective client.
A short web journey through modern websites makes me feel sorry for the quality aspect that we have compromised with all these years. In a bid to attract customers, many have forgotten the real motive behind the establishment of a web portal, which is educating the prospect in the best possible manner. I see web masters and SEO experts walking in jeopardized state most of the times, reason being low conversion or high bounce rate or possibly another Google update! Many have debated about perfect navigation pattern and style that a website owner should adopt to make things better for his business but they all have loose ends.
I take this opportunity to present my own views and a straightforward opinion on ‘what actually a perfect navigation is all about?’. I am a firm believer of the fact that every website has its own psychological impact on users mind or brain and even a simple navigation messages on a website can do a good job. An uber cool website navigation is not about flamboyance or stylishness, rather it is about the sense of freedom or the effortlessness that a probable visitor feels while going through your website. If a website is not able to convey its role to the audience then, to me it’s a bad investment all together. Thinking from a prospective of a business unit, loosing even a single prospect is not an healthy option for them, which is why smooth navigation will always remain a virtual ‘Buy from us’ board for them.
My 9 Straightforward Takes On Perfect Navigation
1. Minimal Clicks
Yes! This is my very first take because I would love to give a well deserved rest to that mouse of yours :). Humor apart, reducing the number of clicks that it takes a visitor to navigate from one page to other is one of the most underrated factor. As per my view point, I would organize my website in a way that reduces the number of mouse clicks instantly and the result is a happy prospective client. However, it may not be necessary that a given user has the same browsing habits as I do, which is why offering multiple navigation options will be your key to success.
2. Minimalistic Scrolling
It’s very annoying when you have to scroll from one part to other of a website to reach a button and honestly, I will prefer to not to stay on such websites for even a minute. Website navigation should be in an organized manner, which ensures minimal scrolling for a visitor. If possible ‘above the fold’ navigation can be a good option with all the important sections located at the top of the web page. The benefit of ‘above the fold’ navigation is that a visitor gets all the vital information present on a website without scrolling down.
3. Self-Explanatory Captions
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Imagine visiting a site with ‘out of the world’ captions, they might seem adorable but what the hell do they actually mean? What will you be doing in such a situation, I guess search some other website that have much better and above all understandable captions. Many of us are under a wrong impression that captions are just ‘once in a while’ watch thing but, this is unjustified! Caption should be kept specific and to the point informative for a visitor to get in a single go what you mean to convey. I was privileged enough to go through a very impressive post on caption design techniques and trends.
4. Appealing (Eye-Friendly) Caption Text Color
I always suggest people around me to use a very unique color when it comes to cite captions. Some prefer a combination of black & white ‘a la Vintage style’, which is a sure shot hit among people who are mad after elegance and class. Caption text color should be chosen wisely to make sure people do get what’s actually written. Those who often confused between colors should go for a simplistic design, preferably a two color combination will do just fine.
5. Caption Text Font
We can’t argue on the fact that ‘Perceptions are never limited to mere Thoughts’ and everything is a matter of preference in the real world. Similarly, you cannot expect everyone around you to be a ‘Times New Roman’ lover :), which is why I prefer to keep it simple to be on the safer side. Go for a text font that is understandable in different sizes because it may not be necessary that your target audience is using a computer, it can also be his iPad. If you are short of inspiration, then going through websites may help you choose a font that is just perfect for you!
6. Follow The Bread Crumbs
I feel that ‘bread crumbs’ on a website are one of the most enticing ways by which your visitors can keep track of their location on a website. This really helps if you are surfing a website with several pages, just like an e-commerce portal with several product categories. I feel that most of the navigation menus designed today do not have any place for breadcrumbs, which leaves no clue for a user, as if where he is and in which part of the website!
7. Matching The Text Font Of Main Navigation Caption With That Of The Breadcrumb Caption
Instead of going for fancy fonts or texts go for a unique and simple font that can be gracefully used both in case of breadcrumbs and also in the main navigation fonts. Also matching the text font of the main navigation caption with that of the bread crumb caption leaves a good and professional impression on the visitor. These simple steps can prove to be a vital attention magnet for your website.
8. Primary And Secondary Navigation Item
Modern websites with extreme functionality and content rich feature will require navigation menus for sure, but with time the complexity of the websites have grown to an extent when more than one menus are needed to guide the visitors. These hybrid websites have more than one menus categorized as Primary and secondary. Primary navigation items are mainly content that a user is primarily interested in whereas a secondary navigation in some way is linked with the primary navigation. Cluttering primary navigation items on every web page can hamper the look and feel of the website.
9. Indicative Sub Navigation
‘Indicative sub-navigation’ is a concept dealing with a visitor getting a fair amount of idea as of ‘what is about to unveil in front of him?’. I see several websites today with colorful and concealing tabs that often surprise you because they don’t carry any sign or a symbol depicting the organization of a sub menu. A sub menu navigation in order to be flawless and organized should be indicative to the visitor. Indicative sub menus are mostly depicted with a downward arrow symbol that indicates the visitor about sub-categories that falls within the main category.
Over the years we are following the same trend again n’ again but, now is the time when you should break the rules and start a new navigational trend all by yourself. I recently went through an amazing website, which made me realize that it was high time we stopped following the same old trend of a home and a about us websites. Trying deploy creative icons and if possible a whole new concept all together.
I feel privileged and a bit happy too after speaking my heart out after a long time. These points that I have mentioned in my article are some of the rare criterion that are still waiting to be explored by website owners. Do you think these fit to our current internet needs and requirements? Valuable suggestions & Feedback are always welcome.