If “common sense” were so common, this series of tips wouldn’t exist. Sometimes things seem so common as to be perfectly invisible. We get lost in the power of our creativity and go off on a tangent or two and lose sight of the prize, which if you’re running a business website, is to generate business. Even if you’re not running a business website, chances are you still want people to visit and explore it, so make sure that it’s easy as pie for them to do that. How? Part of that is what this next tip is about.
Tip #4: A Website Should Be Easy To Use And Navigate
The ideology for good navigation is fairly straightforward. With some good planning, sitemapping and wireframing, you can lay out your site in a meaningful way.
- Make your navigation consistent and easy to understand. Consistent navigation is always in the same place. If you have a link to your “About” page in the upper right hand corner of one page, the link to your “About” page should be in the upper right hand corner of every page. Generally, the only page that sometimes “breaks” this rule is the home page. Home pages may be somewhat structurally different than other pages, since this is where you get to show off your pretty pictures and splashy creativity and, if you’ve done your job right, entice visitors to stay awhile. However, there should still be a consistency between the home page navigation and the navigation of other pages in the site.
- Always name your navigation using standard and generally accepted terms. “Contact Us” is self-explanatory. Don’t be cute and clever and name your contact button “Shout Out”. Visitors won’t get it. They won’t waste time trying to.
- Visitors should always know how to go back to your home page. Clicking on your company logo should bring visitors back to the home page. It’s also standard to simply place a “Home” button in your navigation scheme. Keep in mind that visitors may not enter your site through your home page. The important thing is that visitors can get to your home page at all times.
- Visitors should be able to get to any page of your site at all times and they should always know where they are in the site. Make sure that your pages have clear titles. Make sure that you have well-organized product or service categories. Use a sitemap or “breadcrumb trail” navigation as helpful tools. Also be sure that visitors can always get to your company’s contact information. A vital part of customer relationships is communication, so make it easy for customers to communicate with you.
Is your website easy to navigate? How do you know? Have you ever asked your customers about it?
Read More In The “Building A Good Website” Series
- Tip #1: A Website Should Be Informative
- Tip #2: Information Should Be Well Organized And Properly Distributed
- Tip #3: Information Should Be Relevant
- Tip #4: A Website Should Be Easy To Use And Navigate
- Tip #5: A Good Website Contains A Call To Action
- Tip #6: Forms Should Be Easy To Use And Understand
- Tip #7: News, Blogs And Social Media Should Be Updated Regularly
- Tip #8: A Website Should Be Search Engine Friendly
- Tip #9: Your Website Should Be At Least As Good As Your Competitor’s
- Tip #10: A Website Should Be Part Of The Big Picture