It is common to find beautiful websites online but they do not succeed in generating conversions because of complex navigation. Some guys from PWD gave us some pointers on how to create user friendly navigation that would be easy even to understand for those who are not tech savvy.
Many web designers focus all their efforts at creating a beautiful website that they often overlook usability. Aesthetics is essential because it creates brand awareness but user friendly navigation will likely turn visitors into customers.
How to avoid navigation mistakes
- Users should not exert efforts in looking for information. Menu bars must be clearly visible and their purpose must be obvious.
- Abbreviations and acronyms can be confusing for a user. It is important to remember that what may be obvious to you may not be understood by the user.
- A user must not go through several sub-menus before he can find the information he is looking for. Information is usually the reason why a user is browsing your site.
- Online users are accustomed to typing on search boxes to find what they want. User friendly navigation must include a search box.
Readability is also an important factor in navigation because it allows the user to grasp information with little effort. According to studies, users do not actually read information; they scan it. In order to reach an audience, make content easy to scan. Design considerations include the following:
- There must be contrast in the color used for the text and the background. Color combinations must improve aesthetics but they should also be readable.
- Fonts that are designed like scripts are difficult to scan. There are fonts that work best for online design like sans serif fonts.
- Texts should make use of formatting such as headlines, bulleted lists and bolding in order to be easily scanned. Long unbroken texts are less likely to be read by online users.
Load time is another important factor in web design because online users have little patience with websites that take too long to load. Load time is very critical for retail sites in order to stay ahead of the competition.