Ways to navigate users on the site
Imagine that you are traveling by car, but because of traffic jams all main roads are blocked, and you need to turn into an unfamiliar part of the city. For some time traffic signs will help you to move in the right direction, but suddenly they will disappear. It seems that getting lost in an unfamiliar place is a pushover.
Any site, regardless of its ultimate goal, should perform the main task – to indicate to the user the path to the information of interest. However, it is possible due to his own fault, and maybe the fault of the designer, the user is lost and does not know where to go next. How to help your visitors navigate the site. There are several effective ways.
Each page of the site needs a unique, fairly brief, but no less informative title. The title tells users what exactly can be found on a particular page. If the menu says “About us”, then it is obvious that there will be a description of the company + information about the employees of the company, its goals and history.
Page headers perform their function much more efficiently if:
the header font is larger than the main text by at least a couple of pixels;
used a different font or background color for the font;
there is a noticeable space above and below the header.
These are chains of links that are designed to show how the current page belongs to the main page. Often they are located directly above the page title. They look something like this: Home> Forum> Jobs> Jobs. By the way, the blog has an article with original examples of bread crumbs for the site.
The advantages of “bread crumbs” in their ability to instantly indicate the location of the user, as well as help themunderstand the structure and hierarchy of the site. The user sees how he got to the current page and how to go back a few steps.
At the same time, “bread crumbs” show the real structure of the site, and not the path that the user has come. By the way, if you have a blog on WordPress, then I advise you to read the article on how to create bread crumbs in WordPress using the Breadcrumb NavXT plugin.
PRIMARY AND SECONDARY NAVIGATION
Although this is obvious, it will not be superfluous to recall that it is the proper use of primary navigation that is the most powerful tool for user orientation. It is desirable to make the navigation elements different in color and background, the names of the navigation elements should clearly correspond to the page titles. Unlike the primary navigation, which defines the sections of the site, the secondary directs the user to specific pages. You can use PSD files of beautiful menus for the site that were published in the previous article.
Links are required to clearly indicate where they lead. The user is more likely to click on the link if he knows where it leads. Do not load the page with meaningless inscriptions, such as “Click here”. Like the names of other navigation elements, the names of the links should match the title of the landing page. Some tips on link design can also be found in this blog.
The structure of its pages plays an important role in site navigation. When designing a page, remember that:
Many users are familiar with standard site structures, so the location of navigation elements in places where they are expected to see allows you to navigate faster. Try to avoid too “tricked” designs.
it is easier for the user to decide where to go next if key elements (links) are located nearby. Try to group the key elements.
It is advisable to show the user the steps of the procedure that he performs on the site (we are talking about procedures that require sequential visits to several pages, for example, when ordering goods from an electronic store or downloading files). Make your progress easily visible so that the user can see their current position, past and upcoming stages.
The presence of the map is important for sites with a large number of pages. This is where it’s easy to get lost! The map can be accessed when the necessary information cannot be found through a site search, therefore the site map should fully reflect the structure of the latter, be clear and understandable. To create a wordpress sitemap for a blog, you can use the dagon design sitemap generator plugin and others.
The page title is the text that is located in the title bar of the browser. Remember that the shorter the name, the clearer its meaning. Place important information at the beginning, as the first few words are often the most important to users. The meaning of the name should remain clear, even if the page is not visible (it is in the history of visits or in the list of favorites).