Monday, April 4, 2011

Improve Navigation In Your Web Design

Take away the images and content of your website. Can you understand the proposition of your website just from the navigation? The navigation targets both web browsers and search engines. Browsers should be able to identify your products or services from the menu links. Search engines should be able to find all of your web pages via these same links.

Websites commonly have two types of menu navigation. Drop down links which expand when you hover over the parent link or web menus which provide additional navigation based on the link clicked. Either way the context of the subject matter should be taken into account. As an example, take an accountant displaying information about the latest budget. Would you prefer having to refer to a drop down menu for sub pages or would the subpages be better seen permanently on each budget page as a sub menu? Whilst this example is debatable either way, further information is more easily accessible as a sub menu always on the page. In the case of a product which can be bought online, could a sub menu distract from a purchase or aide in additional purchases? It is these types of questions where hypothesis testing can give us actual performance results for each test (will be discussed in later newsletters).

Whichever menu system is decided on it is vital to use the correct wording for each menu item. Clarity is the key. Remember if a user cannot find what they are looking for they will leave your website.

Anchor text in menu links
To improve search engine indexing the context and relevance of your web page, menu links are often created using keywords which people are searching for. There is an obvious scent trail here and combining this link with already known SEO techniques such as the title, headings and URL, both the browser and search engines know the information on that page is what has been searched for. Avoid broader keyword term and focus on keywords that are relevant to the information on your web page. Use the Google keyword tool to make the right decision.

Breadcrumb Trails
Breadcrumbs are a great usability tool which can also aide navigation. The let the user know where they are on the website. Usually breadcrumbs are situated under the menu and show the parent of the page you are in and also often give a direct link to the homepage. Whilst our intention is mainly website orientation, our research shows that breadcrumbs are often used for navigation as well.

Site maps
There are two types of site map. The first is hidden from the browser and is used to inform search engines of every page on your website. The other type is for browsers and search engines. This is normally visible from a site map link on one of your menus and is designed to show links to all of your website pages on one single page. Site maps evolve over time so it is recommended to always have an up to date visualisation of your site map to ensure that the site has a logical flow of information.

Page not found
Sometimes pages get moved or removed. If someone lands on a page not found it is important to ensure that they can navigate to an actual page with ease. Make them entertaining ( a common trend with web designers). It is very important that search engines know these pages are no longer available. Ensure that your webmaster codes them correctly.

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1 komentar:

web design said...

Great sharing.really informative thanks for it.One of the most important elements of website design is good navigation.Website navigation is a key element for determining a websites effectiveness.Good website navigation can increase the viewing of your web pages.

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