10 Great Examples of Website Navigation DesignWebsite Navigation is a top priority for any site. Why? Because it is the thing that can either help a user to find relevant information or make him leave with disappointment. But in web navigation the rules are silent. You can make it clear and intuitive or layering and unconventional. Web-development studio Umbrella IT is here to answer all your questions. But first things first.
WHAT IS WEB NAVIGATION?Web navigation is a system of software tools and visual means which help users to know where they are at all times and provide them the necessary information.
WEB NAVIGATION PLANNINGThree pillars the most effective web navigation leans on are:
- Structure: website navigation starts with the detailed design of the Information architecture (IA), that provides optimal access to a site and arranges the content from a user’s perspective. Ideally, IA consists of a minimum number of navigation layers and provides access to the desired website section in just a few clicks. Yet the website section division must be clear, logical and predictable.
- Minimalism: efficient web page navigation is always simple and user-friendly. Add only those elements to your menu design that are essential for the effective communication. The key to success is a menu bar consisting of a minimal number of equal sections that eliminate any error.
- Design: when selecting a design focus on readability, integrity, and harmony. Opt for the standard elements: the intricate system of icons, buttons, and shortcuts is a bad idea that can backfire on your site’s aesthetics and usability. The simpler the web design navigation, the bigger amused audience.
TRENDS IN WEB NAVIGATION DESIGNWeb design is highly versatile however some of its forms have gained more traction than the others. Umbrella IT has chosen 10 examples of website navigation design that looks like a great option. Each of them has its own benefits and drawbacks, but which one is the best? It’s totally up to you. 1. HORIZONTAL NAVIGATION Horizontal type is a classic design that combines usability and functionality.
- Natural solution for a standard orientation of the majority of screens;
- All the elements are active and accessible at once;
- You can expand the main menu bar options by use of drop-downs in just a tap or a click.
- Large number of website sections and mega drop-downs can interfere with the important content;
- Addition of new menu options is complicated.
- Simple editing and unlimited menu expansion make it a perfect choice for complex multifunctional services and e-commerce sites;
- First choice for mobile devices.
- It can interfere with the content in expanded mode;
- Lower discoverability of elements at the menu’s bottom.
- Very compact arrangement of website’s content;
- Design can be adaptive and in combination with hamburger-icon makes a great choice for mobile web browsing;
- Slide-out menu makes users focus on the content rather than on anything else;
- Access to the menu is available from any website’s point.
- Hidden navigation is less discoverable;
- It can interfere with the content in expanded mode.
- Scrolling is faster than clicking – a good fit for news services, online stores, and real-time websites;
- Long or infinite scrolling holds users’ attention;
- It is highly suitable for websites with a large volume of visual content;
- User-friendly design for the mobile web.
- Restrained user’s freedom: you can’t control the order of information and way for representing content;
- No footer;
- Higher server load;
- SEO drawbacks.
- Menu is accessible from any website’s point – great choice of design for a landing page;
- Brand awareness can be built with a company logo appropriately inserted into the header;
- SEO is improved by increasing the number of web pages being viewed for a single visit.
- Overwhelmed and annoying header is non-userfriendly and able to block the content.
- The menu functionality is boosted by hiding a large number of options behind the icon;
- The menu is constantly available from any website’s point;
- Large number of options;
- As an additional menu arranges secondary options (history, settings, payment) a screen or a user being overwhelmed.
- Low discoverability: despite being frequently used some users still have problems with hidden menu identification so it is recommended as a secondary menu;
- Hamburger menu is a de facto symbol to start the site exploring on Android, but on iOs it is not that popular and leads to clashing with basic iOs navigation elements that might overload the menu bar.
- Cross-platform compatibility;
- Single URL: you don’t have to create a separate mobile version of the site and no redirection means higher SEO.
- Desktop’s typical active elements (embedded maps, videos, animated elements) slows the page load time down on mobile platforms;
- Mobile audience prefer narrower set of functions than desktop audience for which reason mobile version of site’s design can be unreadable and overloaded;
- No alternatives: if you have a separate mobile version you can always return to a full version of the site. It’s impossible for a separate mobile version. If a responsive design is inconvenient or hides a crucial element of navigation the only solution is to find a desktop or switch to a competitor.
- All the options are accessible at once: quickest possible user’s direction make the mega menu a perfect choice for online stores with a bevy of options, categories, and services;
- It pops-up and pops-down upon the user’s action.
- the illogical content division comprises the whole system;
- it’s difficult to be implemented on mobile platforms.
- Fat footer provides alternative or additional menu for those who struggle to find necessary information on the main menu;
- Important but unclassified content can be conveniently placed in the fat footer;
- Additional options in the traditional footer with contact information help to generate leads;
- Specific information or sections are highlighted.
- Footer is often unnoticed.
- This design guarantees a well-defined structure of the site;
- Lots of space to designers;
- Overloaded intro-page compensates the screen real estate in other sections which remain free of navigation elements (apart from a hamburger or a “menu” button);
- Full-screen menu is often responsive and simply built for a mobile platform;
- Perfect choice for a task-based website.
- Lower loading speed;
- Analyze your content: it might be a wrong choice for the websites requiring many navigation moves.
- Animated elements draw user’s attention;
- Better website aesthetics;
- Simple animation navigates users throughout the website.
- Undue visual elements complicate the navigation;
- Animation slows the website load time.