Navigation menus are essential web design elements. However, their importance is often overlooked or taken for granted. How much thought did you put into the placement of your website’s current navigation menus? Most people don’t give it much thought and this is a mistake. Your current navigation menus may be serving you very well, but there is a good chance they could be serving you better.
What’s the best location for navigation menus? There’s no set answer. However, the top of the page is often an ideal choice. Why? For one, placing the navigation at the top of your site places it front and center in front of your users. Another reason why the top is a good choice is that users expect to find the navigation in this location. When selecting a location for your navigation menus, you need to consider usability and user expectations.
The side bars of your website are also alternative or additional location that you might place your navigation menus. While they aren’t in quite as visible of a location as they would be if placed at the top, navigation menus are still plenty visible in the top side bars. Plus, users often look in the side bars for navigation. In some web design layouts, sidebars may be a better option than the top. It really just depends on how your pages are laid out.
Some websites make use of the footer for navigation. While the footer can be a good place to share links to related content, it is not a good option for the site’s primary information. If you want to include a navigation bar at the bottom to prevent users from having to scroll back to the top, that is one thing. However, you should avoid the footer for your primary navigation menus.
Above all, you want to locate your navigation menus for ease-of-use. You want users to be able to locate and use your navigation with as little effort as possible. Your web design professional will be able to help you improve the usability of your existing website’s navigation.
While it may seem insignificant, improving your navigation can ultimately improve your websites engagement and conversions. According to Usability.gov, people are unable to find the information they’re looking for on a website a shocking 60 percent of the time.
Perhaps more alarming from the perspective of a business owner is the fact that approximately 50 percent of potential sales are lost because users are unable to find the information they seek. Even if you have decent navigation, there is likely room for improvement. The last thing you want is to lose business because your website has a poor navigation system.