Aware that the usability is enough to make or break the lead generating capabilities of your website, it's critical that your navigation is optimized for the user.
What does that mean?
We've detailed four important tips that will help you generate a better understanding.
1. Consider the order
Alphabetical? Importance? At random?
Determining how to structure the order of your website navigation can be made simple by leveraging a tool like CrazyEgg to track the way in which visitor's are behaving with your website. Here's an example of what we're talking about:
With a better understanding of what people are actually clicking on, it's much easier to make a data-informed decision to determine the way in which they should be ranked.
The reason being that items that appeared early on are distinguished from the others as a result of the primacy effect. Conversely, the items that fall at the end of the navigation remain in the short-term memory, also known as the recency effect.
2. Create contrast
Quick. Which navigation stands out more?
(I'm going to assume that was an enthusiastic, resounding, "the first one!")
When it comes to creating a user-friendly website navigation, contrast is key. A navigation that blends in with the rest of the design, is a navigation that doesn't get clicked.
Contrast helps to create a level of interest, which ultimately works to direct the eye and ensure that the navigation elements aren't confused with the main content.
3. Limit the number of menu items
Let’s say you’re looking to send your Aunt Pearl a nut basket to celebrate her acceptance into the local gardening club. (You go, Aunt Pearl!)
You input a quick Google search and land on this website:
With an astonishing 34 clickable items in the vertical navigation, it’s hard to decide what to look at first.
HTML is server-side, meaning that the information is generated on the server before the user visits the page.
To help clarify, here's a simplified diagram from Web Design Depot that explains how AJAX works:
Point being, if you're going to spend the time to carefully create a user-friendly website navigation, you want to make sure that you're using the right code to ensure your pages actually get picked up by Google.