Online Marketing Program: 1.1.2 Navigation
Continuing our new Online Marketing Strategy Program…so welcome and today we look at navigation — what is undoubtedly one of the most critical aspects of Web site design – and in my book, arguably the most important.
No matter how good a site looks, and no matter how much useful information it offers, if it doesn’t have a sensible navigation scheme, it will confuse visitors and chase them away.
Remember – users either think “easy” – or – they “vote with their feet and walk!”
A simple, logical, understandable navigation scheme can increase your number of page impressions, boost return visits, and improve your “conversion rate” (the number of visitors who are “converted” into customers). It’s a critical aspect of site design that has a direct effect on the bottom line.
Information architecture is the work that goes into creating intuitive navigation schemes for software. Information architecture generally applies to websites, but can also apply to web applications, mobile applications, and social media software.
Ideally, a website or application’s navigation scheme makes it easy for users to find desired information or functionality. On a website, the information architecture can also add important context to the current page (for example when a user begins their visit deep within the website, having come directly from a search engine).
A “bricks and mortar” architect must balance the (often competing) demands of aesthetics, structural integrity, heating, lighting, water supply and drainage when creating building blueprints. Similarly, an information architect must create navigation schemes for software that are at once concise, descriptive, mutually-exclusive, and possessive of information scent. Both types of architect seek to create spaces for humans that are safe, predictable, enjoyable, and inspiring.
Tips for creating usable navigational systems:
- Be easy to learn.
- Be consistent throughout the website.
- Provide feedback, such as the use of breadcrumbs to indicate how to navigate back to where the user started.
- Use the minimum number of clicks to arrive at the next destination.
- Use clear and intuitive labels, based on the user’s perspective and terminology.
- Support user tasks.
- Have each link be distinct from other links.
- Group navigation into logical units.
- Avoid making the user scroll to get to important navigation or submit buttons.
- Not disable the browser’s back button.
- [ http://www.rentistoodamnhigh.org/]
- [http://www.cafeintl.net/] flash!
- [ http://rzepak.pure.pl/] – non-English!
- [http://www.getraenke-kukral.de/] – non-English too!
We fully believe that any startup, that relies ONLY on the word of their web developer that the navigation used on their site works perfectly AND is the best practices examples – is looking to fail! You must test…..and you must get the testing done by experts!
Pay for testing at ~ Userlytics:
With Userlytics, you don’t have to wait until a site, landing page, or display ad goes live before you know how the target will interact with it. Validate your concept by testing sketches; assure your functionality by testing wireframes; fine tune your design by testing prototypes; choose the best from your creative directions; and catch any last minute glitches by testing your final site, landing page and display ad before you start investing in multivariate analysis. [http://www.userlytics.com/]
Pay for testing at ~ Analytics Design Group:
Analytic Design Group Inc. has developed a proprietary navigation testing tool (called Navtester) that allows them to use a ‘design & test’ methodology when developing information architectures. Navtester allows their testers to user-test proposed site structures remotely, using an iterative test cycle to test and then refine the structure, and by using real users of your site, they can be sure that the information structure will be superior. And because the test is online and takes only around 15 to 20 minutes, the participation rate for the test is very high for very little cost (compared to other labour and scheduling intensive methods like card sorting). [http://www.analyticdesigngroup.com/]
Resources & Testing URLS -