Web design – a guide (part 1 – navigation)

web design navigation
designing a logo

Web designers have to take a lot of things into account when designing a website, from visual appearance (how the website looks) to functional design (how the website works). There’s more to  designing a website than you might think.

Part 1. Web Design Navigation

While menus are the main part of a website in terms of finding the content you are looking for, that’s only part of the story.

Well-organised hierarchy of pages, site-layout and intuitive navigation don’t happen by chance. They are a result of proper user research and testing.

There are a number of ways that a web designer can work out the best way for a website’s content to be structured. This can be done with index cards or simply on a white-board. It’s all to easy to jump right in and design a website ansd the web pages, but the structure is so important to the overall success of the project.

Navigation is a cornerstone of website usability. It doesn’t matter how stunning the website design is if users can’t find their way around it. That’s why navigation on any website should be designed with a few basic principles:

Simplicity

The website navigation methods should be designed in a way that helps visitors to get to where they want to go with the fewest clicks possible.

Clarity

A user shouldn’t have to guess what a navigation element is for. Every navigation option should be self-evident to the user.

“Where am I?”

This is a basic question that users need an answer to in order to effectively find their way aroiund a website. Failing to indicate the current location is a common problem on many websites. Just a simple colour added to a menu item instantly confirms where on the website they are.

Consistency

The navigation system should be the same for all pages on the website. The last thing  a user wants to see is a strange part of the navigation that doesn’t seem to fit.

This is just a short introductions to the complexities behind a simple but effective menu and navigation system in a website. Find out  more about web design services from toki in Exeter.