Why do we use navigation? Navigation is the use of text and images that guide a user through your site to the information or product that they seek. It’s not just for allowing search engines to spider your site.
Who visits your site? It’s an obvious one… people do, and they are probably looking for something in particular; a specific product or some piece of information. Now there are people out there who just sit around running tests and scenarios and studies. And there were these particular people who did some studies which showed that average people have a short attention span when it comes to the Internet. After three or four pages on your site, people will probably move on to another site. But by properly making your navigation easier for people to locate information, you are also increasing the amount of time spent on your site. The longer people spend on your site, the more likely they are to buy something.
What goes into a great navigation? Most websites use images or text for navigation. Text navigation is fast loading and implicitly simple, while images are more attractive and professional looking. Generally speaking, most websites use both kinds of navigation elements — to be aesthetically pleasing as well as user friendly. When you look around at other websites you’ll notice that the majority of them use image navigations at the top of each page and text links at the bottom of each page. It’s how the world is – people are used to this format, and you should make sure to follow in a similar fashion. Also, make sure that these navigations are easy to identify. Text links should be a different color, font or size… something to make them stand out. Image links should also be easily identified as a navigation element. Don’t leave your visitors guessing where your navigation is or what the link is leading them to or they will most likely be turning right around and going somewhere else. Include links in your navigation that are seen on most sites like an FAQ page, Contact page or a Sitemap. People will look for these elements. One of the most important things to remember about your navigation is to be consistent to providing the same “thing” in the same “place” so that people can naturally go to that same spot and feel comfortable about where they are and where they are going.
What is stickiness? It’s a measurement of how long people are staying on your site before leaving to another site. Having a higher stickiness can also help you in the search engines. An easily navigable site will tend to be “stickier” than a confusing one. So keep your navigation simple, consistent and common to the “rest of the world” and your site will do better in the search engines as well as increase the probability of a sale