Navigation is so important with web design because it allows the user to know how to use your website. Good navigation would allow the user to instantly see where they need to go to access information. For example, if you were looking for a way to get in touch with a company through their website, there should be very little/no hunting around in order to get that information.
Good navigation can be measured through clicks. Within three clicks, a user should be able to land on any page and find what they need. A great example of this is Abbey Masterbatch as all of the links are displayed in the navigation and you can easily click through the pages to find the relevant information.
Website navigation should be high up on the list of priorities when designing a website. If visitors can’t find your web form, then your site is useless and users will leave. Breadcrumbs, navigation elements and other ways to explore your site should be at the forefront of your mind when designing a website.
Most websites feature a header as a form of navigation, such as Jesmond Dene House. These are effective because you can clearly see the pages and call-to-actions (CTA’s) as soon as you get onto the page, meaning other pages and links are only a click away. Make sure your logo links back to the homepage as this is a convention that is best followed as it is so widely implemented.
Headers are usually contrasting to the rest of the design on-screen so that the eye is instantly drawn to them.
Headers may also feature a hamburger menu as well as the links / CTA’s or maybe in place of this. Background Sounds is a great example of a hamburger menu that also takes elements from the logo. More links can be found through this at the expense of an extra click.
Hamburger menus are a great navigational device because they are subtle and don’t take up too much room. They can also be used to reflect the branding and can be nicely designed to fit in with the rest of the website. It was originally implemented for easier navigation on mobile devices but is also now used a lot on desktop too.
Footers are also great navigational tools as they feature all of the links within a website. They can also include popular resources, relevant links and social media content and are great for user experience. Fat footers are really good for this because they can contain a lot of information and all website links.
Sticky or fixed navigation is a menu that locked in place as you navigate throughout the page. This means that you don’t have to scroll back up to the top to get to another page on the website. ING do this quite well as the navigation menu comes down the page as you scroll.
Good navigation is essential to UX because users want to know where they are, where they have been and where they are going easily and without clicking around too much.