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Navigation Systems4:27 with Dan Gorgone
In this video, we learn about why navigation systems are important for you and your users.
- Global navigation - menu that shows the main sections of a website
- Local navigation - sub-menu that shows the main links within a section of a website
- Breadcrumbs - links that show where the current page is located with the sections or levels of the website
- Contextual links - links within the text in the body of a page
- BlueCross BlueShield: https://www.bcbs.com/
- NREL: https://www.nrel.gov/solar/
- Bloomingdales: https://www.bloomingdales.com/shop/product/marc-jacobs-snapshot-saffiano-leather-crossbody?ID=2954312&CategoryID=17310
- YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=28SU7st8Ddw
- SproutSocial: https://sproutsocial.com/
So far we've talked about organization structures and 0:00 schemes, as well as labeling systems. 0:03 The next IA principle is navigation systems. 0:05 Menus are a big part of establishing a system of navigation for your users. 0:09 But to be clear, navigation refers to all the systems you put in place on a website 0:14 or app to help people navigate, to help them get around from place to place. 0:19 And it's more than just showing people what they could do by putting up a menu. 0:25 It's also about giving them options in the right place and at the right time, 0:29 so they can move around quickly and easily and find what they need. 0:34 So let's think about all the different ways you can navigate a website. 0:39 The first type of navigation many people look for and 0:44 use is a global navigation menu. 0:47 This shows you the big sections of a site and helps you get a sense 0:50 of the entire structure and organization, so you know what's there and where to go. 0:54 These menus may be simple ones or contain multiple options, 1:00 like pull-down menus with lots of choices within each section. 1:04 Then you've got local menus, 1:08 which are the sub-menus you might see when you click into a section. 1:10 The global menu is still there, but 1:15 the local menu shows you how information within a single section is structured. 1:17 You might also see breadcrumb links. 1:22 These links show you level by level where you are within the structure of a website, 1:24 so you don't get lost. 1:30 And also, so you can discover related content. 1:31 You might also have contextual links, which are links within the text on a page. 1:35 These links might appear within the context of descriptions, 1:40 directions and other content. 1:44 So if you need more info on whatever you're reading about, 1:46 you can click and get it. 1:50 And you might also see related links, 1:52 which are usually displayed automatically based on the content you're looking at. 1:55 So on some pages you'll see sections literally called related links. 1:59 Or on retail sites they could be a customers also viewed section. 2:04 These links help you find similar content and keep you on the site. 2:10 So if you've seen these types of navigation systems before, 2:14 the benefits shouldn't surprise you. 2:18 They establish website structure and scope, so 2:20 users know what's on the site and what they can do there. 2:23 They provide pathways and visual cues to help users figure out which way to go. 2:28 This is especially helpful when new users arrive, so they can get started easily. 2:33 Local menus provide extra flexibility. 2:39 You can show these menus when you need to, and 2:42 you don't have to clog up a global navigation menu with lots of extra links. 2:45 Related links are great too, 2:50 because they expose more content to users once they've arrived. 2:52 YouTube does this amazingly, showing you lists of related videos to keep you 2:56 watching Minecraft gameplay until 3 in the morning. 3:00 But one of the big benefits of using navigation systems is that you can use 3:04 them to guide users down certain pathways you want them to follow. 3:08 Remember, that while user goals are important, 3:12 your goals are equally vital to keep in mind. 3:15 So if it's important to get people to, say, register on a site, 3:20 or buy something, providing navigation links and 3:24 pathways to those important functions should be a priority. 3:28 Instead of burying that content or 3:32 those functions, you make them a prominent page of your navigation systems. 3:34 So you might see now how you could combine these ideas about 3:40 navigation with our previous ones on organization, structures and labeling. 3:44 For example, when you figure out how you wanna divide up content, 3:48 many times you'll build navigation menus that mirror that structure. 3:52 We also mentioned before that labels are like signals for users to follow. 3:57 And so if that's the case, 4:02 your navigation would be the paths they take based on those signals. 4:03 So, ultimately, 4:09 your goal with navigation systems is to set up the right paths for your users. 4:11 Ones that lead to essential groupings of content, website or app functions, 4:16 and spots where users will complete tasks that satisfy your goals. 4:21
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