If you want your users to stay on your website longer and keep coming back, your site needs to be as simple as possible for them to use. Improving website navigation for your users is a simple matter of adding a few tools to help them on their way. Though there are many angles to look at navigational improvement from, we will concentrate on menus, browsing/search capabilities, and user’s expectations. Just mastering these three elements will give your users a much more pleasant experience.
The first thing you want to look at is your navigational menus. Here are a few handy tips:
- Pay attention to how your menus are worded. Leave out the industry terms, and use words you are sure your visitors will understand.
- Less is more. You don’t need every major section of your site indexed in your navigation menu. Research proves that if you give the customer too many choices, they will have difficulty choosing anything.
- Use drop-down menus. This allows your users to explore your site easily without clicking on anything. vertical drop-downs are the best for this.
Browsing and Searching
Improving this area is extremely important for e-commerce sites. Make sure that your users can drill down to sub-categories. You should also make it possible for them to search by price, top-sellers, and definitely by top customer review ratings; users like to browse the most popular products. You should also include a search box. This will give your users the ability to find exactly what they want quickly and save them a ton of frustration.
What Users Expect
Links – They should be underlined, or have a standard color, like blue. Try not to use underlines (or the particular shade of blue you choose) anywhere else on your website to avoid confusion.
Logos – Usually at the top of the page. Most users now expect them to contain a link back to the homepage.
Search Boxes – These are almost always in the upper right-hand side of every page on the site.
Log-in/Out – These should be clearly visible on the page. Also, make sure it is in the same place on every page. This is actually a good idea for all important elements of your page.
So now you have a few easy ways to make your website more user-friendly. One final thought: Make it clear, make it simple, and make it consistent!