Website navigation system is a collection of links that can stand for images, flash files and Java applications. A website navigation bar itself can be of the following types:
Navigation menu and images
In your personal experience you’ve probably come across such websites in which navigation menu consists of images that are linked to other pages of the site. Web designers usually add a little Java code script to such images so that when a visitor hovers a cursor over such icon, it changes it size, color or form.
Flash based website navigation menu
Website navigation system can also be created fully or partially in Flash. A Flash based navigation bar has got certain advantages. Firstly, you can give your customers a richer web experience by using cool animation features. With Flash integrated on your site, the links on your Flash menu system can not only change but also fade-in and out.
Flash navigation menu is a single file and by replacing it, you change the navigation on all the pages of the site. A little ActionScript can help you create beautiful drop down navigation menus. The disadvantages of Flash-based navigation bar are the necessity to have a Flash plugin to view the flash file and search engine indexing. Now Google indexes Flash files, however the question is whether it follows links included in Flash.
Where should it occur on a web page?
The most common places to allocate a navigation menu are the left hand side and the top horizontal row. But they’ve become a sort of a standard. If your website has been created to cater to the most general public, I wouldn’t deviate from these standards. You’ve probably seen websites where a navigation bar is placed somewhere at the top of the site above the logo or header. If you want to allocate your navigation system at the same place, equip your website with one more navigation bar at the bottom of a page. None will find it convenient to scroll the page down to read the content and then to scroll back to the top. You may come across websites with right-sided navigation bar, but frankly speaking, that’s not a popular place to allocate it. Naturally, people start scanning a page from the left and to find a navigation bar on the right side may confuse them.
Over the years of working experience I’ve witnessed a lot of novice web designers who mainly focus on the appearance of the website. I have to say, it is important to have a nice and visually appealing website, but you should be sensible. You can try hard to make design look beautiful, but the site won’t retain customers because of its poor functionality. Appearance is not that important. Don’t get me wrong. Of course, the site should be attractive but that’s not its main function. The point is, too often newcomers in web design pay excessive attention to website appearance when its usability plays far more important role.
All websites are created to serve a certain purpose. Some websites are built to sell different items online, others are created to demonstrate talents of their owners (portfolios, for example, or resumes). Usability of the site is very important if you want to achieve these goals. How to check if your website is usable? The first question you need to ask yourself is: can your prospects easily access the needed information on your website?
The information should be available. For example, before a customer makes a decision to purchase a product from the site, he or she would be interested to find out more about the product. A brief one-line description of the product is probably good enough for the main page, however, if you’d like to use your website as an efficient tool to sell, make sure you provide people with the detailed list of products and their characteristics.
Another important thing is to provide an easy access to the information. A page with the detailed information that’s not accessible by users is a waste of space. You should put the informational content either right under people’s noses or give them clear and well-visible links referring to the needed material.
A good navigational system is very important for the site. A good system makes it easy for your customers to move from one page to another one. If you have a navigational bar, make sure it’s allocated at the same place throughout the entire website. Don’t make your visitors feel confused and lost on the site. You need to think like a visitor and question yourself all the time what kind of things a visitor might be interested in. A good navigation system must be user-friendly and clear. If you have many pages on the site, site search engine will definitely improve its usability. A sitemap is another good feature that allows your visitors to easily and quickly find the route to the needed pages.
When the navigation system is effective, it usually stands out on the site. To make it clear and prominent, it’s important to meticulously think of a section on the site that would be designed exactly for navigation. This section is supposed to be recognized as a navigation area when a visitor arrives at the website. If it doesn’t happen and your prospective customer feels lost, navigation is definitely not effective.
Here are a few tips how to make your navigation to stand out:
- Place it in a visible area so that visitors can spot it. Positioning plays a very important role. Allocate your navigation menu somewhere at the top or left of the web page. Remember that visitors scan the page from left to right, starting in the top left corner and reading down the page. Therefore, if your navigation is placed at the top of the site or on the left, it will be easy for your visitors to find it. That’s the place where visitors naturally expect to see it.
- Size and colour are the most effective methods to make things noticed on the site. Colour can be used to powerfully draw visitors’ attention to certain elements and information. A widely used technique is to place navigation options on a coloured field, on a sidebar or on a horizontal bar. This technique works very effectively because it creates a strong contrast between other elements. The brightest, most vivid and saturated colours generally stand out on the site, but keep in mind that it’s very important to check how your navigation colour mixes together with the entire web page.
- Don’t clutter your website. By doing so, your navigation will have a little chance to be spotted on the site. Give it space so that every detail can be seen. Picture a crowded room. Would it be easy to find a particular person amongst thousands of people? Don’t let your key elements to get lost in the excessive entourage.
- Make sure you separate your navigation from the ads. Aside from that, make sure you don’t place your navigation above the logo. That’s the most common place for banners and thus, generally ignored by visitors. And what’s important as well is to make your navigation look differently to ads.
Simplicity in web design doesn’t necessarily mean a minimalist design aesthetic. Simple websites usually get rid of all unnecessary elements from the design, code and content. There are many minimalist websites that fit these criteria, however, there are plenty of those that don’t. Minimalist website doesn’t always fit the definition simple. Now let’s view those benefits that simplified website designs have got over elaborate web designs.
1. Easier to navigate and maintain. Simple websites don’t have excessive information. This helps navigation in two ways: firstly, such websites have got fewer pages and sections; secondly, the design doesn’t look that cluttered and the navigation elements can be found with less effort. If you see that usability of your website is very confusing and complicated, it’s essential to simplify the design. Here are some recommendations how you can simplify the navigation system.
- Make sure that your navigation system is consistent through the entire website;
- Use only one navigation menu;
- Dropdowns for navigation will clutter the design and make navigation very difficult. Incorporate the navigational elements into the site’s design. By doing so, you create a clear and simple navigation system.
2. Simple designs load faster. Simple designs result in smaller sizes. Besides, if you keep your code simple and streamlined, you’re less likely to be calling multiple stylesheets or lots of other content that increases the number of HTTP requests that your website makes.
3. It’s the content what the robots scan. Too many decorative elements on the site put the content on the background. That’s a bad practice. Content should be put to the forefront where the visitors as well as search engine robots can easily scan it.
4. Simple sites are easier to build. Aim to keep you code as simple as it’s only possible. Designing a website that’s got just a few web page templates is a very quick process. But make sure your website doesn’t only look simple but function in an effective and simple way too.
Simplify your website!
Get rid of all those unnecessary decorative elements that clutter the design. Many website designs contain a big number of decorative elements that actually serve no purpose at all. The elements that could be removed from the site are image borders, drop shadows, extra illustrative images.
Question importance of each element on the site. Take one more look at your design and check out whether you could combine certain elements. Maybe you could even combine styles to simplify the stylesheets.
Web design industry is a vast area to study and work in. It’s not a difficult task to find a web company that can produce a nice-looking website. But you should keep some important things in mind. Without clear understanding of website objectives it will be a daunting task to plan a proper marketing strategy.
If your website doesn’t look or function well, all the traffic that it gets will only convert into former traffic. That is why it’s important to focus on every little issue to have a website that converts. This article will tell you how to create a good web design for your business website.
Today all people are very impatient. Everyone is waiting for instant results and gratification. Don’t forget about competition on the web. With a great abundance of websites that cover every known topic it’s essential to give your customers something new and captivating to attract their attention. There are thousands of websites that can take your customers’ attention away, therefore it’s important to put enough effort to create a top-rate visual presence of your business.
What do people usually want when they come to a certain website? Answers and instant solutions, that’s what they are looking for. By giving them what they want, you will be ahead of the competition straight away. And it’s not difficult when you know exactly what people want. Make your navigation system user-friendly so that your visitors can quickly find what they’re looking for.
What imperative to do is to regularly update the content of the site and post interesting and relevant articles. If you want to build good relationships with your customers, you need to learn your market first.
Don’t overlook the importance of navigation. Good web design and lucid navigation system go hand in hand together. Visitors should be able to find exactly what they’ve been looking for. Don’t force them to scroll the pages or click a number of links. Provide a clear structure of the site.
Check compatibility of your website with the major browsers and make sure the design looks proper. If there are any broken images or links on the site, make sure you remove them in time. These little issues can create a very negative impression, thus don’t lose a chance to gain credibility on the web and regularly maintain your site.