Imagine that you are traveling by car, but due to traffic jams, all main roads are closed, and you need to turn into an unfamiliar part of the city. For a while, road signs will help you move in the right direction, but suddenly they will disappear. It seems like getting lost in an unfamiliar place is a trifle matter.
Any site, regardless of its ultimate goal, must perform the main task – to show the user the path to the information of interest. However, perhaps through his own fault, or maybe through the fault of the designer, the user is lost and does not know where to go next. How to help your visitors navigate the site. There are several effective ways.
Each page of the site needs a unique, rather short, but no less meaningful title. The title tells users what exactly can be found on a particular page. If the menu says “About us”, then it is obvious that there will be a description of the company + information about the company’s employees, its goals and history.
Page titles perform their function much more efficiently if:
- the heading font is at least a couple of pixels larger than the main text;
- a different font color or background color is used for the font;
- there is noticeable space above and below the title.
These are chains of links that are designed to show how the current page relates to the main page. They are often located directly above the page title. They look something like this: Home> Forum> Jobs> Vacancies. By the way, the blog has an article with original examples of breadcrumbs for the site.
The advantages of breadcrumbs are their ability to instantly point to a user’s location and help them understand the structure and hierarchy of a site. The user sees how he got to the current page and how to go back a few steps.
At the same time, “bread crumbs” show the real structure of the site, and not the path that the user has taken. By the way, if you have a blog on WordPress, then I advise you to read the article on how to create breadcrumbs in WordPress using the Breadcrumb NavXT plugin.
Primary and secondary navigation
While this is obvious, it is worth reminding that the correct use of primary navigation is the most powerful tool for orienting users. It is desirable to make the navigation elements different in color and background, the names of the navigation elements should clearly correspond to the page titles. Unlike primary navigation, which defines sections of the site, secondary navigation directs the user to specific pages. You can use the PSD files of the beautiful menu for the site, which were published in the last article.
Links must clearly communicate where they lead. A user is more likely to follow a link if they know where it leads. Do not load the page with meaningless words like “Click here”. Like the titles of other navigation elements, the titles of the links should match the title of the landing page. You can also find some tips for linking in this blog.
The structure of its pages also plays an important role in site navigation. When designing your page, remember that:
- Many users are familiar with standard site structures, so positioning navigation elements where you expect them to be seen allows for faster orientation. Try to avoid too “fancy” designs.
- It is easier for the user to make a decision about where to go next if key elements (links) are located nearby. Try to group key elements.
It is advisable to show the user the steps of the procedure that he performs on the site (we are talking about procedures that require sequential visits to several pages, for example, when ordering goods from an electronic store or downloading files). Make progress easily visible so that the user can see their current position, passed and upcoming stages.
map of site
Having a map is important for sites with a lot of pages. This is where it is easy to get lost! You can refer to the map when the necessary information cannot be found using a site search, so the site map must fully reflect the structure of the latter, be clear and understandable. To create a sitemap for a blog in wordpress, you can use the dagon design sitemap generator plugin and others.
Page title (Title)
The page title is the text that appears in the title bar of the browser. Remember that the shorter the name, the clearer its meaning. Place important information first, as the first few words are often the most important to users. The meaning of the name should remain clear, even if the page is not visible (located in the history of visits or in the favorites list).
In general, all the wishes for user navigation will have an extremely positive effect not only on the positive perception of the project by the visitors. Some of them will also be useful for search engines – sitemap, breadcrumbs, page title – all of these things are useful. In addition, the better the usability of the project, including the navigation, the more efficiently it will work and the greater the return on it.
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