There’s nothing better in business than working with people you like. You’ve got a mission, you’ve got goals, and you’re interested in moving another step in the right direction.
While moving in the right direction is a good thing the same can be said about the navigation and direction on your website.
One of the most frustrating experiences you can have on a Web site is being unable to figure out where to go or where you are. I’d like to think that for most Web designers, navigation is a concept we’ve managed to master, but there are still some pretty bad examples out there. There are two aspects of navigation to keep in mind:
Navigation — Where can you go?
There are a few commonsense rules to remember here. Buttons to travel around a site should be easy to find – towards the top of the page and easy to identify. They should look like navigation buttons and be well described. The text of a button should be pretty clear as to where it’s taking you. Aside from the common sense, it’s also important to make navigation usable. For example, if you have a rollover sub-menu, ensuring a person can get to the sub-menu items without losing the rollover is important. Similarly changing the color or image on rollover is excellent feedback for a user.
Orientation — Where are you now?
There are lots of ways you can orient a user so there is no excuse not to. In small sites, it might be just a matter of a big heading or a ‘down’ version of the appropriate button in your menu. In a larger site, you might make use of bread crumb trails, sub-headings and a site map for the truly lost.