Website Design Part 1: Navigation
Outlining the Website
How do you know where to go on a website to find the information you need? Navigation outlines how a user will steer through your website. Ultimately, it impacts whether or not a website visitor can find what he or she is searching for.
Elements of the navigation:
top menu bar
Website navigation needs to remain fluid and flexible throughout content creation.
If your users can not easily find the information they want (4 SECONDS on average) they will leave!
Answer these questions:
- What is the immediate message that website visitors need to see when they first come to your website?
- What are the top 4 things users will be searching? (Do not make people hunt for the top information, it should be clear in the top navigation AND on the home page.)
- What does your organization offer its clients?
- Outline your services and group them in a way that is intuitive for everyone! Do not use industry terms unless they are understood by the general public.
- What action (call to action or CTA) do you want people to take? Call you? Schedule an appointment online? Visit your physical location?
- What information will encourage people to complete your call to action? (Search Engine Land says 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.)
Example of top menu navigation for a service industry business:
Services 1 (Residential, Commercial, Service Line (heating, air conditioning, etc.)
Services 2 (Residential, Commercial, Service Line (Heating, Air Conditioning, etc.)
Reviews / Testimonials
Now that you have your website navigation outline think about how users will interact with the content.
Think about each page and outline the information that will be displayed.
Keep in mind the two most important elements of your website design
- CTA: What action do you want the user to take.
- What information will encourage people to complete your CTA?
Make sure that everything is organized and intuitive for each top level idea (page).
Determine how you will use quick links on each page if you have a large amount of information to include on your website.
If you have a lot of information about each topic consider breaking some of that information out into a blog and linking from appropriate places on the main pages.
This will help you consolidate and keep things simple while providing information for those that need more time.
A. If you do break website content up into separate pages or sections remember to carry over the CTA! All pages should encourage the user to complete your action.
B. Content is incredibly important for search engine optimization but your efforts are pointless if the users can not locate the information they desire in a short period of time.