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Website Navigation Tips to Improve UX

Follow these website navigation tips to create a good user experience for your visitors. UX is crucial to creating a website that engages your customers.

When designing a website, the user experience—or UX—is key. The website is for their benefit, after all, and so any good website should want to ensure that the UX is as good as possible.

To help you improve your website's UX, we have prepared some useful navigation tips.

Why UX matters

In nearly all cases, whatever website you have has competitors. The last thing you want to worry about when operating it is that poor website design causes some of your customers to leave yours for one of your competitors.

Even if it is a minor issue with navigating your website, customers will be more inclined to jump ship to a competitor. And even if you do not have a competitor for your website, a frustrating UX may turn them away anyway.

Tips to make site navigation easy

Provide an intuitive and streamlined navigation UX design

Navigating a website should not be a chore, but all too often, it is. To alleviate that, there are several things you should do.

If your website is poorly designed and website visitors leave quickly, that has a bigger impact than them leaving. If you do not plan ahead with your website design, this problem can become significantly worse in the long term. If customers open your link in the search engines like Google and leave it quickly, that will be noticed by the Google algorithm (if you use Google). This is usually how search engines work, though getting on the wrong side of the Google algorithm is a big deal.

When your website is noticed in this way enough times, Google Analytics may decide to reduce your website's visibility on its search engine. This happens because if people click off quickly, the Google algorithm may think that your website is either low quality or not what the customer expects. As a result, you should make sure that, when you launch a website, you have a website you are happy about.

The best way to plan for an ideal website is to create a sitemap. This means that, rather than designing your website reactively, you are instead designing it proactively. Not only should you take the tips discussed in this article, but you should also get other eyes on your website before actually making it public.

Testing it yourself is valuable, of course, but we are not necessarily going to pick up on every issue with the website. Limiting the website to only people you can trust to beta test the website will reduce the risk that you accidentally launch with errors or poor website design.

Take both mobile and desktop designs into account

All too often, a website underperforms with users because the website maker fails to account for both mobile and desktop users. It may not be the most convenient to have to make different versions of your website depending on the platform, but ultimately, it will do you and your website a lot better.

Using a desktop version of a website on mobile devices makes it obnoxious to navigate, and it's hard to blame someone for not bothering. The best way to avoid that is to optimize websites for mobile devices. Meanwhile, if you're using a mobile site on a desktop computer or laptop, it feels like it's wasting so much space. Not quite as obnoxious, to be fair, but it is certainly not ideal on a wider screen.

When you build a website with a mobile device in mind, it is thankfully viable to make one work without too much trouble. For example, you can tighten the navigation menu or instead use the hamburger icon (the nickname given to the three-line icon). You should also ensure that users can easily access all links on your website using a touchscreen.

Use data to adjust your website

While it is valuable to design your website as well as you possibly can, there will inevitably be situations that you did not predict. For example, this article will not be a definitive source forever. The standards of what makes a good or bad website will eventually change, as they also have in the past. Further, the Google algorithm is constantly changing, so there may be new obstacles or considerations you need to address.

By using this data, you can see which pages of your website get the most traffic and which get the least. From here, you have to ask, "why are some pages not getting much attention?"

There are multiple reasons why this may be the case, but one of the most common reasons is because of the website doing a poor job of guiding viewers to those specific pages. Another potential issue is that they may already be able to find the page but are not interested in looking at it. This may suggest that you should drop the page or at least retool it to make it more interesting.

Another data point you should consider is the website's bounce rate. 'Bounce' is a piece of lingo that refers to a single-page session on your website. If you have a bounce rate that is too high, that may mean that your website doesn’t interest viewers or has issues that make them want to leave. However, if the bounce rate is too low, this may indicate that the tracker has some issues preventing it from giving you accurate data.

However, a high bounce rate is not necessarily a bad thing. It is only a bad thing if getting people to go to other pages on your website is a high priority. For example, if you have a website that consists only of 1 page, then you should have a bounce rate of 100%.

Make it clear how to get from Point A to Point B

If a website designer is not careful with their site, they may run the risk of their users getting completely lost while trying to navigate. There are multiple things that can worsen navigation issues, such as hypertext not being immediately obvious. Make sure that any navigation links are clear, using a color and font that makes it clear what text is hypertext. Also make sure that the hypertext of when the link has been clicked is clear.

Another tip is to make sure your navigation menus do not have excessive links. While being able to reach a wide variety of parts of the site is important, you also need to determine which links the users actually desire as they go through their customer journey.

Make the sidebar and navigation menu visually distinct from the rest of the page. If you don't, this may confuse your website visitors. You should also ensure that your visitors can find both of these menus.

You should also make sure that your website's contact information is visible at the top-right at all times. This helps convert visitors into potential customers without them having to hunt down your contact page.

Improve your page load times

No matter who you are, dealing with poor load times is not a fun experience and leaves customers confused as to why the load times are so poor. If it takes too long for them to go from one link to another, they will more likely just leave your website. Thankfully, there are methods you can use to improve load times and, in turn, page navigation.

One mistake many websites make is that they put too many elements on a page. For example, if you have a page with a ton of images to load, that will increase the page load time. A good way to alleviate this is to make subpages for certain images. This way, you can still have all the images you want without increasing the page load time. However, that is not the only reason why your pages may be loading slowly.

Improperly optimized images on your website can also increase load time. This commonly occurs when you upload a high-resolution image and then scale it down. Despite being scaled down, the image takes just as long to load since it's still the same file size. Thus, make sure you lower the file size on your computer before uploading. Keep it under 1 MB whenever possible. JPEG images are also smaller than PNG images.

Another method to use to lower loading times is to lower HTTP requests. HTTP requests have to be made for each CSS, JavaScript, and, of course, image file. The more files you have to load, the longer it will take for the user to finish loading.

Streamline your users’ web navigation

There are a lot of important things to factor into the web design process, but the website UX should be one of your top priorities. If your users do not stick around, then no matter how good your website, product, or services are, you will not see much success with it. However, one of the best ways to set up your website is with a website builder, like Mailchimp. Mailchimp lets you build your website using templates, as well as customize what they offer to make it your own.

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