Navigation route planning is the most important step towards making a website usable to the utmost extent. It is preceded by content planning for the website. Plan the route of navigation from A to B, from B to C, from C to A, from A to C, likes on your website. The routes must be smooth and hassle free. The navigation must be planned in such a way that the top level content must be easily accessible.
Navigation all over the website must be consistent. Consistency in the navigation is ensured by categorizing and sub categorizing the content of the website. Categorize the main areas of navigation into the same class and highlight them in the same color across the website. Sub menus of the navigation should be marked in a different color. Differentiate the main and sub menus with color difference.
When we leave for a destination, whether it is office or school or airport, we want to reach it as soon as possible. Everyone appreciates efficiency. The same applies to navigation of content online. Make sure that visitors are able to locate the piece of content and reach the pages that they are want. One-click navigation from A to B is always desirable. If a specific page is not accessible quickly, it means that there is some problem with the navigation structure. Ensure the accuracy of sitemap, content tables and anchor texts – the keys of navigation.
Make the logo of the website on the top footer clickable. Link it with the home page of the website. If a visitor gets lost while browsing the content of different categories, he can return to the home page by clicking the logo. Though the navigation menu bar has a ‘home’ tab, this feature is essential to ensure usability and smooth user experience. The logo at the top is more distinctly visible than the home button.
Make your website searchable by integrating search functionality to the site. Enable visitors to search the website for the desired content or page. This key of web navigation helps visitors pinpoint their search. Integrating this feature, a website with lots of content and hundreds of pages is highly usable. It saves users from the pain of manual search all over the website.
It is a trend to name navigation buttons innovatively, these days. Vague names may be trendy but not helpful. Navigation button or tab names should connect users with the categories. Otherwise, it may frustrate users. Use common or general names for navigation buttons. It is not necessary that everyone thinks on the same line. Keep the wording to the point.
Breadcrumbs are the links between categories, sub categories and posts. Using the breadcrumb, the visitor can move back from a post to its sub category and from sub category to the main category. If a visitor feels like being lost in the labyrinth of content, he can check where he is with the help of breadcrumbs.
Planning navigation structure is as important as plan for a building. A web design professional helps with navigation route planning just as a civil engineer helps with building plan.