Sunday, March 13, 2005

Click. Click. Click. You’re Out.

Click. Click. Click. You’re Out. - by Greg Hansen

Have you ever become frustrated with a website when you couldn’t find the information you wanted? What did you do? Leave? Never to come back?
Here are a few tips regarding website navigation, that will keep your clients clicking:

Click. Click. Click.
When it comes to website navigation, the old rule still applies – users only should have to click three times to get the information they want.
I believe it should be two clicks. From the home page of your website, users should click on a main category. From that category, one more click should provide the information they want. Two clicks. Simple.

Consistent navigation
Your primary and secondary navigation should fall in the same place on all pages. Don’t move them around on each page or section; you could lose your users.
Primary and secondaryYou should have only two major navigation areas on your pages: primary and secondary. Users won’t know how to respond to more than that.

Don’t put everything on one level of navigation
Use your navigation system. Don’t try and make everything accessible from one level. Doing so can become a mess and, again, your users won’t know what to do.

Your navigation system should help users get through your site easily and should not confuse them.

The sitemap crutch
If you have to rely on a sitemap to help users get around your website, you should reevaluate your navigation system. A sitemap should function as an alternative, not as a crutch, for poorly designed navigation. Sitemaps do serve a great function for Search Engine Optimization, but that’s a topic for a whole other article.

Simple and logical
Keep it simple and logical. Put your most important information first, and make it easier to obtain. Less important information can be down a level.

Try something new
There are common navigation designs that many websites use such as navigation on the left and top of a page. But don’t be afraid to try something new. As long as it works and you get the results you want, it’s a good design.

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