I am not a web design expert, and I did not attend school for web design. (Although I would like to attend some courses!) But, as I stated In my about me section, I used to work in digital marketing before I became pregnant.
I loved my job — especially researching and tinkering with layouts to improve website usability and effectiveness. I managed more than a few websites and reviewed each one of them like they were my babies. Fiddling, working, and editing, I came up with the best plan of attack for website navigation.
In my research, and my findings from working with the websites, I found that website navigation is usually the most effective when it is at the top of the screen, visible, and easy to find.
Usually, readers read a web page in an F shaped pattern, this is important when creating a business website because you want a reader to find the most important parts of your website easily. The reader will most often scan the top of the website first. This is where most companies have their navigation. Decide what is most important, and add it to your navigation bar. Most readers like to see “Home” at the top left. Websites have “Home” in this location in order to allow their reader a way to easily find their way back (like breadcrumbs). Also, it seemed to me, that readers expected to see a contact button at the furthest right part of the navigation on a business website (I found that when I started placing the contact button in other places, the contact button received less clicks).
I found, at least for my websites, the best order for navigation was: Home, Miscellaneous, About, Contact me. Play around with your order, watch your site analytics and see what works best for you. But, if you have no time for testing, try this order first.
After the navigation, a reader will read down the left side of the site searching for keywords and information that they came to your site to find. This is why making headlines readable, bold, and relevant is important — the readers often don’t have a lot of time (or they have a short attention span), and you have to be very quick to grab their attention. Catch their eye with a well thought out and easily readable headline that stands out.
Of course, the most important thing you can have on any website is, according to Mom 101, well-written content, but a well thought out layout is a must as well.
I am including the links I used for this post below:
- Our F Shape Reading Behavior Online by Blueprint Design Studio
- Mommybloggings Part Deux: The marketers are here to stay. Are we? By Mom 101
- Understading the F Layout in Web Design by Webdesign Tuts
I hope these work for you. If they do, and you find that you get more hits (or less) on your navigation, please come back and let me know! I would love to hear if this was helpful (or not).