Category Archives: Development

The importance of website navigation

When looking at websites – what draws you as a viewer in and catches your attention?  For most viewers, it’s a combination of relevant information, looks and functionality.

When a website is not easy to navigate, most viewers quickly lose interest and move on to another website – which may be your competition.

Studies have shown that viewers attention spans have lessened as the age of computers has grown.  Back in the 1970’s when television was king, the average attention span of a television viewer was 90 seconds, so television commercials were averaging 60 seconds each.

Today, the average website viewer will spend less than 30 seconds when introduced to a website. If the visitor does not see the content they are looking for, if the design of the page does not appeal, and especially if the visitor can’t easily navigate through the website, that visitor is lost in practically the blink of an eye.  With millions of websites at our fingertips – the competition for visitors is in the forefront.

A well designed website that is easy to navigate makes all the difference.  If finding a particular page on your website can be compared to a treasure hunt, the visitor will leave.  It sends out the diagonal that your company is not trustworthy to do business with, or at the very least, not professional.

When planning out website navigation, start with a basic outline – a list of all the most important information for the site, and be sure to include sub-divisions of secondary information.  This outline will become your basic page and navigation structure.

For example:

1.)  Home Page

2.)  Services Page

  • 2a)  Service 1 Details
  • 2b)  Service 2 Details
  • 2c)  Service 3 Details

3.)  About Us Page

  • 3a)  History Page
  • 3b)  Meet the Staff Bios Page

4.)  Articles/Blog Page

  • 4a)  Spotlight Article Landing Page
  • 4b)  Article Archives Page

5.)  Contact Us Page

  • 5a)  Hours / Directions Page
  • 5b)  Mailing List Sign-up Page

The next step is to make a list of pages that need to be included, but may not be part of the actual “navigation” menu.  These pages may appear as a result of form completion, or may be small links off of the website header or footer.

For example:

  • Privacy Policy Page
  • Terms and Conditions Page
  • Additional Links Page
  • Thank You Page for Mailing List Sign-Up

There are many ways to present your navigation – from cascading menus, to drop-down menus and more.  The style of navigation should complement the design of the website so they work together and create a cohesive package to the visitor.  The navigation should also be consistent from page to page – so that the visitor can intuitively find their way through the website.  DOn’t be afraid to make the navigation obvious and clearly defined to the visitor.

With a little pre-planning and organizing, your website navigation will be the backbone of your site.

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