Navigation3:32 with Dan Gorgone
For many users, navigation menus and other links provide the first clues for new users about what they can find and do on the site. Provide clear options in your navigation to answer all of their initial questions, and it will be easier for you to do business.
Things to Consider
- Does your navigation provide links to the main products, services, and functions on your site?
- Do you provide access to personal profile/account, help and contact features?
- When new users arrive on your site, how can they learn about your company through the choices on your navigation menu?
- Does your navigation menu contain multiple levels, and does each link work?
The main navigation menu is vital for users, 0:01 and, therefore, business websites. 0:04 Now, if you remove the main menu from the websites you know and love, 0:07 you may find it incredibly difficult to get around, 0:10 and you can't always rely on a site search engine. 0:13 The goal should be to drive users through your navigation 0:16 to show them what you have to offer at a glance and how they can find it. 0:20 More often than not, the main navigation will display across the top or left of a design. 0:26 Again, understand the risks if you start moving things around. 0:32 Menus can appear in many different colors, shapes, and formats. 0:36 Some will be just text, others text with icons, and others may be more elaborate. 0:40 The key is to provide a top level of choices that tells the user, 0:47 "These are the key features or sections of our site." 0:51 In addition, it can provide opportunities to promote 0:56 the products and services you need to sell. 0:58 There are certain menu items most users 1:02 have come to expect on any website they visit. 1:04 Many businesses provide an "About" link to revel their corporate history or background 1:08 as well as a look at who owns or runs the company. 1:13 This is an opportunity for new users to learn about the purpose 1:17 behind the website and company, 1:20 so it serves as an important way for building trust in your user base. 1:22 Users also need a contact link, especially when sites offer services or products 1:27 or other items that involve transactions and other interactions. 1:32 Your company may have customer service, user support, call center, 1:37 or some other group that deals directly with customers. 1:41 If so, it's important to provide clear information on how to get in touch with them. 1:43 Small businesses can benefit here because it's another way to build trust with the users, 1:49 especially if you link your social media accounts here 1:53 and show them that you're online. 1:56 Providing users with a clear way to communicate 1:59 with the actual people behind a website shows a willingness to speak with them, 2:01 making you look more transparent and accessible. 2:06 But these won't be all the links on your menu. 2:10 Many businesses have products and services, 2:12 and often, businesses have a focus 2:16 that can allow them to list the main groups of products they have, 2:18 and depending on how your site is designed, you may be able to provide 2:21 a hierarchy of choices based on logical categories. 2:25 Figuring out how to organize this information can be tricky at times. 2:29 So, researching similar sites, especially the competition, can give you an idea 2:34 about how to arrange your menu choices. 2:39 In the end, you may have to test multiple versions to see which one 2:42 provides the most clarity about what your site offers. 2:45 As technology has progressed, menus have become more elaborate, 2:50 but also easier to manage in some cases. 2:53 Being able to provide a menu that contains up-to-the-second information is vital, 2:56 and platforms like WordPress offer dynamic updating as well as basic ways 3:01 to manage the links and sublinks you offer. 3:06 When all else fails, think back to the core concepts 3:10 of branding and targeting for your business: 3:12 Who are you, what do you do, how can users find this information, 3:16 and how can they connect with you? 3:21 Provide clear options in your navigation to answer all of these questions, 3:23 and it will be easier for you to do business. 3:27
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