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Guidelines for Effective Website Navigation

Web NavigationNavigation is a very important element of any website. A site which lacks a proper navigation system will only end up frustrating visitors. Therefore, you need to ensure that your website navigation is designed in a way that makes it easy for visitors to find what they are looking for. This will give them a pleasant user experience and enhance their chances of returning in future.

Here are some great guidelines for good website navigation.

1. Intuitive

How do people think? This is a question you need to ask yourself before creating any product. When it comes to navigation, take time to consider how people interact with sites. Rather than coming up with some novel ideas, it would be advisable to stick to what is conventional. This means having a navigation system which most people are familiar with. This will make it very easy for your visitors to find what they want.

To have intuitive website navigation, your links need to be easily identifiable. The links should appear on top of the side bar or on top of the page. Use very clear terms for your anchor texts so that visitors can know exactly where they will land when they click on a link.

2. Logical

When people visit your site, they should not waste time wondering how everything works, what path to follow or which page to visit first. Make sure your website navigation is self-explanatory and obvious. Avoid having multiple paths leading to the same destination since this will end up frustrating your visitors. Ask a friend to try navigating your page. If at any time he finds it difficult to find what he is looking for and needs clarification, then you might need to redesign your navigation system.

3. Main and sub navigation

If your main navigation menu contains links to too many pages, visitors might get confused and fail to grasp the purpose of your site. It is therefore advisable to categorize the pages of your site into main and secondary pages. For instance, if your blog is…

4. Create a website blueprint in advance

Before you begin designing your site, make sure you have a clear and well-structured blueprint. Think about how you want your pages to appear and how they will link to each other. Having an idea of the entire user journey will enable you to identify page anomalies or navigation problems early enough. In turn, this will save you lots of trouble when you get to the implementation stage.

5. Avoid opening internal links in new tabs

If a new tab opens each time someone clicks on a link, it only ends up creating a confusing clutter of tabs. Therefore, you need to ensure that all your internal links open in the same tab. This will make it easier for visitors to browse through your site. However, external links should open in a new tab to enable visitors to look at the page while still retaining your site.

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