In January 2019, a full year before the COVID-19 health crisis began to make its presence felt, around 94% of customers surveyed by Clutch indicated that they expected websites to be easy to navigate. As cities across the globe remain under lockdown and more companies are relying on online sales, ease of navigation is more important than ever, with many companies having to compete for the first time with more established online businesses. If you are a small business seeking to adapt to changing times by switching to an online model, how can you make navigation an easy and dynamic process for your clients?
Why Prioritize Site Navigation?
Research by KoMarketing indicates that once a potential customer reaches a site via referral, 50% will use the navigation menu to orient themselves. Around 38% of people who find your site unsightly or difficult to use, meanwhile, will click off. A site that is difficult to negotiate, unclear in its intention, or laborious to make one’s way through will result in a higher bounce rate.
For instance, if your company sells products online, your customers should be able to see what is in their cart without having to exit the shopping page. This can be facilitated with a drop-down column that shows what is in your cart and allows you to modify quantities or eliminate items. Sites that force customers to switch between windows and frequently backtrack to get to previous pages will result in a frustrating experience that could just see clients opting to give their business to your competitors.
What Creates An Optimal Navigation Experience?
When it comes to design, you should keep three considerations in mind: organization, practicality, and visual appeal. The structure of your site should be clearly visible and predictable so clients can easily find what they are looking for. Your site can be artistic and visually impactful, but it should be simple enough to avoid distraction or visual overkill.
Finally, your chosen design should be harmonious. This can be achieved through a careful selection of graphics, fonts, and menus. Remember that everything from your logo to the dominant colors on your site and marketing material should reflect your brand’s values and your target market’s tastes.
Key Design Features For Easy Navigation
If you are a small business that is offering online product sale for the first time, practicality/user-friendliness should be the number one priority. Miami web design is famed for the type of dynamism that many other cities aspire to, and other international cities in the U.S. and abroad are also clued up to the importance of clarity and simplicity. From the moment a client clicks onto your site, your navigation should be clearly placed – for instance, vertically to the left, or horizontally at the top of the page.
Avoid features such as drop-down menus that are excessively long. They may be attractive and lend movement to your site, but usability research from the NN Group suggests that many users find drop-downs annoying – especially when it is close to impossible to get the cursor to stop on a specific entry.
Display your main services or product categories clearly so customers can get to their chosen destination fast. Avoid navigation that is too busy (use sub-categories for products instead of presenting too many in a long list on your navigation menu). Finally, position the most popular products and services at the top of a vertical menu, to grab your audience’s attention from the start.
Navigation Trends To Watch Out For
Ensuring that navigation is simple and seamless doesn’t mean that you have to opt for an overly simple or boring design. Quite the contrary. You might decide, for instance, to place a fixed footer nav bar at the bottom of your page instead of the top. This is particularly suited to mobile navigation.You might also fix your vertical navigation bar so that users can click onto other areas in your site from whichever page they are browsing at a given time.
Horizontal carousels are also in vogue. Essentially, carousels comprise a number of ‘hot items’ that are placed above your main fixed horizontal nav bar at the top of your page. These items can change regularly, thus adding dynamism to your site and encouraging clients to log in frequently to find out new information or avail of new discounts.