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Best Practices for Website Navigation Design

Instructor: Temitayo Odugbesan

Temitayo has 11+ years Industrial Experience in Information Technology and has a master's degree in Computer Science.

In this lesson, we will be looking at what a website is, the processes of gathering contents and structuring of navigation menus, as well as best practices to observe when building one.

Best Practices for Website Navigation Design

A website is a collection of related or connected web pages containing information, multimedia and other items of interest to a target audience published publicly on the Internet or privately on an Intranet and accessible through a web browser.

Binty and Buns Associates (B&B), a law firm, is looking to expand their services to a larger audience. They engaged the services of a website design firm, Go Web, to help develop their website.

After going through the process of gathering, verifying, and arranging the contents of the website, our hypothetical website design firm, Go Web, takes several factors into consideration while designing the law firm's website navigation:

Corporate Identity

Ensuring that the website has a strong corporate identity and branding, using the firm's logo and signature colors, all of which assures visitors of being on the right site.

Maintaining Convention

Ensuring that the website navigation menus are created using conventional icons and naming formats which are easily recognized by site visitors. Using non-conventional icons and entries would confuse visitors if they're not familiar with the icons.

Simple Menu

Go Web also ensures that despite the amount of content they were able to gather, the navigation menu is not cluttered with too many entries. As a standard, it is always advisable to limit entries to a maximum of seven. This is to improve the site's search engine indexing and visitor's memory of the site. This also avoids the use of multiple drop-down menus, as well as to create smoother page transitions.

Responsiveness

To cater to visitors who visit the website from their mobile devices, they built the website's navigation menu to detect the device screens in use; resizing the page to fit the screen for a better user experience.

Including a Search Box

The inclusion of a search box on the navigation menu allows visitors who may not want to spend much time on the site to search directly for contents.

Uniform Theme

Last but not the least, Go Web made the navigation menu available on each and every page of the website, maintaining the color scheme throughout. The reason for this is to maintain uniformity and professionalism of the site. Lack of uniformity is usually a flag of suspicion or cloned websites used in defrauding visitors on the Internet.

Website Navigation Menu

The website navigation menu is the tool on the website that guides and directs website visitors to the different sections of the site beyond the homepage. It is either horizontally or vertically placed on the page, or both (horizontal + vertical left or vertical right).

In the final design of the website, Go Web arranged the navigation menu using standard navigation menu labels and conventions as follows:

Home: This is where website visitors are directed by default by typing the URL into a web browser. The homepage provides an introductory view of the firm as well as snippets of information contained in other pages.

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