Construction of your site navigation can make or break your website’s performance. Shoddy and haphazard navigation schemes can easily confuse visitors causing them to make that dreaded click out of your site and onto a competitor. A properly constructed navigation can help visitors easily move from page to page finding everything that they are looking for quickly and easily.
Be Consistent (Placement)
However you construct your site navigation scheme it should be consistent from one page to the next. Don’t confuse your visitors by changing how the navigation looks or by moving its on-page location to a different area.
There are many different forms of navigational elements: main menus, sub-menus, breadcrumbs, etc. All of them should work together to create a consistent and recognizable flow as the visitor navigates through the site.
It is very important that no matter how big or complex the structure of your site gets, each web page must keep a consistently located and easy to find link back to your home page.
Be Obvious (Breadcrumbs)
Being obvious with your navigation prevents your visitors from “getting lost” on the site and not knowing how to navigate back to other important pages that may be in different sections of your site. It’s important that your visitors be able to quickly discern what page they are on and figure out where to go from there.
One of the simplest ways to display where a visitor is on your site, regardless of how deep within the site’s architecture they are, is to use breadcrumbs. Breadcrumbs are a set of navigational links that show the navigational path from home to the current page.
Most visitors don’t actually use the breadcrumb links for navigational purposes, but instead they act as an important visual cue allowing the visitor to see what page, sub-section, and section they are within the site.