Click Here!
Article Sections: | Internet Marketing | Web Design | Web Development | Business | Internet and Businesses Online | Self Improvement |  
>> Home > Web Design > Web Design Tutorials

Consistent Navigation - Pitfalls to avoid and how to do it right

By Veronica Barrio
Posted Sunday, September 26, 2004

One of the most important aspects of a good design is consistent navigation. You have to make it easy for your users to get where they want to get with out having them stop and think about what they are doing. Here are some of the top pitfalls to avoid, followed by how to implement a consistent navigation structure.

Pitfalls to avoid when designing the navigation on your site:

1. Peek-a-boo Navigation - Some really "sleek" looking sites have images to depict their navigation. The problem with this technique is that you are leaving it to the user’s imagination what image would best depict the action they are trying to perform. What at first seems like a cool idea can quickly become an irritating annoyance once you have had to re-rollover all the images trying to find where you want to go.

2. Every page has a new menu - There is nothing worse as a user than not knowing where you are at on a site. If there is a design necessity to change a menu then always give the user a breadcrumb back to where they came from. If the user has to use his/her back key to figure out where they are at they will not stay for long.

3. User has to learn your site to use it - This is a common misconception designers say that once the users get it they will be able to use it. If the user has to think about it they will be long gone.

4. Having a navigation that you actually have to use your scroll bar to see because it has so many items on it.

Doing navigation correctly:

1. The first to step to consistent navigation is good information architecture. Lay out all your types of information on flash cards and sort them into the correct groupings. If your site is complex get feedback from peers to see if the groups you have made are the way they would expect to find the information.

2. Build your hierarchy off of the information architecture that you have created. Remember the goal is for the user to know where they came from and how to get where they want to head without having to think about it.

3. If you have a complex hierarchy compliment your menu structure with a breadcrumb.
For example: Home Books This Book

Many people may think that this is overkill but if you watch two people navigate the same page it is very likely they will follow which ever path they stumble on first.

4. Keep your main level of navigation to seven items or less, any more than that is overkill.

5. Having a search box is another form of navigation that will help your user find his/her way.

6. Finally, site maps in the header are footer are another way for your users to get where they are going. Don't call your site map anything other than site map.

About the Author


Click Here!



  Articles are submitted to EDN and licensed from various content sites.
  To report abuse, copyright issues, article removals, please contact [violations (at@)]

  Copyright © Evrsoft Developer Network. Privacy policy - Link to Us

Contact Evrsoft