There are always new trends emerging in the design world, and as trends change, many are left rather confused about the basics. Getting back to the bare bones of your website, your navigation should take pride of place, after all, snazzy design and the most up-to-date features aside, if visitors can’t find your content, what’s the point?
We really have seen it all, from the random wording of someone out of touch with their industry to a deep design that makes the most basic of content inaccessible. We’re here to save you the heartache of dealing with disgruntled browsers with a rundown of the most common navigation mistakes in web design and how to avoid them.
It’s just too difficult to use
For ecommerce websites in particular, navigation requirements can get very complex, especially if they have a never ending product range that they are looking to showcase. A difficult to use navigation only results in two things – a website that puts visitors off from browsing, sending them running in the opposite direction (and possibly into the arms of your competitors) and a convoluted customer journey that leaves prospective consumers confused about where actions can be taken and conversations can begin.
When considering your navigation, nice and easy does it and makes for a smooth and simple exchange between your business and its customers. Make the customer journey easier by giving visitors the option to shop by category and even search for individual items.
The navigational journey is inconsistent
This goes hand-in-hand with your nav being difficult to use. Consistency is key during any part of the design process, which is why you see a good website using colour schemes and fonts to direct customers onwards and hopefully towards the checkout. Consistency is made even more essential when you own multiple websites that fall under the same brand. By elements like font, colour schemes, theme and navigational journeys being consistent you can keep things flowing in the right direction, avoiding the confusion that sends visitors elsewhere.
Following tried and tested navigation patterns is also recommended. For example, browsers expect a back button at the top left of a site, and if it’s elsewhere this can lead to unnecessary confusion.
Menus are deeper than they need to be
Simplicity is important, yet you do want to give your visitors options that make their journey more succinct. Going the other way however can be just as detrimental.
Making your navigation too deep and your menu bar too long and congested is a big no-no. Your aim when designing the ultimate nav is to make your website content and features accessible in as fewer clicks as possible. Achieve this by limiting the options available, prioritising what matters to your audience. Separating your menu to offer front and secondary options is a great trick of the trade if you don’t want to limit yourself too much, whilst hidden menus provide the option for visitors to access additional pages further along in the navigational journey.
Just how clear and consistent your website’s navigation is not only affects user-friendliness but has an impact on conversions. Website navigation mistakes are avoidable, so exercise best practice from the very beginning with our top tips.
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