Website navigation influences your website’s ability to convert. It similarly affects users’ experiences. If visitors have an engaging navigation experience, it will be easier to convert them into paying customers. Browsing websites that do not have a well-defined and logical structure is akin to getting dropped in the middle of a dense forest without any map or compass to help you find your way out.
You may have a stunning site, but if your visitors find it difficult to locate your products, they will undoubtedly leave and visit competitors’ sites without second thoughts. This doesn’t only apply to your homepage’s navigation. According to Forbes, almost 50% of visitors who land on your website’s internal pages use its navigation menu to familiarise themselves.
Your website could be failing to convert because visitors find it difficult to browse through it and locate what’s relevant to them. Therefore, your on-site navigation needs a facelift if you realise that navigation-related issues have been hindering you from optimally converting site visitors.
Creating a proper navigation system for your website isn’t easy. You should be aware of tips that will help you find your way. Here’s how you can transform a potentially negative browsing experience for visitors into an excellent one.
Replace Drop-Down Menus
If options on your website’s drop-down menu are unfamiliar, extensive, or complex, you should consider replacing them with a detailed page that can enhance website navigation. Drop-down pages tend to be annoying. They also force you to sacrifice valuable information so that you can incorporate everything into your website.
When looking for ways to replace those drop-down menus that could be affecting website navigation, you should look up to Apple for inspiration. Instead of cramming all products into one drop-down menu, Apple showcases them on a single menu page. Visuals accompanying the menu page make it easy for visitors to find what they want without many clicks.
Make Searching Effortless
Visitors who run site searches are more likely to convert compared to those who don’t. Those who make use of search functionality on websites often have the intent to buy. Similarly, they know what they are looking for.
Bearing this in mind, it is sensible to make your website’s search functionality as effortless as possible. You can even have a prominent search bar on your homepage to help visitors find what they want.
You can make visitors find appropriate pages on your website without necessarily expending a single click. This can be done by including clues within your website’s drop-down menu. Clues can in the form of a handy icon, visuals, or any other helpful and relevant piece of information.
Awwwards has an inventive “Category” tab, which not only displays various categories but also gives visitors an idea about the number of entries under each category. You might even consider using colour hues to enhance website navigation. In this case, you will use different colours to give visitors a clue about where they should proceed.
The use of clues will work particularly well with those who visit your website using mobile devices. Due to clunky controls, slower loading times, and minimised screen legibility, mobile users tend to click on wrong links. This is pretty agonising. By using clues, you will help mobile users to navigate to the right pages without making any errors.
Differentiate Your Target Audience By Creating Separate Menus
Designing an interface that guarantees optimal website navigation entails considering the dynamic needs of your audience. It’s tricky to develop interfaces that take care of the needs of two or more distinct groups.
To make sure that everyone within your target audience finds what they need without being required to go through irrelevant content, you should separate your links into two. One of the best places to learn how to differentiate the target audience is The Muse.
To cater to a wide audience without requiring visitors to go through content that might be irrelevant to them, The Muse has different links for employers and job seekers. The first four links at the top of the website’s navigation bar target those who are looking for jobs.
The fifth link redirects employers to their section of the website. The link is grey rather than white like the other four. This alone indicates that the link differs from the others. Uber uses a similar approach on its homepage to enhance website navigation.
On the left, you will see links to “Ride” or “Drive.” The last button on the homepage features a green icon, which differentiates it from others. This is an innovative way of optimising the navigation of your site and can help you convert visitors into paying customers.
If your website isn’t well structured, visitors are likely to suffer from navigational fatigue. Often, this occurs when browsing through websites that have a complex hierarchy. On such sites, users are likely to get tired quickly due to the expanding submenus that accompany each other.
The use of fat footers can help you prevent navigational fatigue among visitors who land on your web pages. With fat footers, visitors will have a bird’s eye view of the website. As a result, it will be easy for them to zoom in on pages to find what they are looking for.
Baxter is a perfect example of websites that use fat footers to a good effect. The site features eye-catching fat footers and less conspicuous submenus. Once you see the fat footer, it will be easy for you to narrow down to a specific submenu under it.
Select Your Menu Orders Strategically
If you are asked to purchase 12 items from a grocery store, there’s a high possibility that you will find and buy the first two and the last two items on the list. Similarly, you are likely to purchase one of the products found in the middle of the list.
This is commonly referred to as the serial position effect. On e-commerce websites, people tend to purchase products that are at the top, middle, or the bottom. Internet users are likely to remember the first and last items on a list.
You should take advantage of this to improve website navigation. You can drive website visitors to the most important links on your site by placing them either at the beginning or at the bottom of your menu.
Digital Kitchen is one of the sites that have taken advantage of the serial position effect to enhance their on-site navigation. The website has a book-ended navigation bar with “Contact” and “Client.” This is a wise decision since the agency creates social proof by providing a link to its roster of past clients. Similarly, the site directs visitors to contact its reps.
UX wisdom dictates that you should not repeat content. Nonetheless, navigation is an exception to this rule. In case one or more pages on your website fit naturally into two categories, you should go ahead and list it in both categories.
REI’s menu is a perfect example of how you can relist sub choices. A website visitor who is interested in purchasing a backpack can check out “Travel” or “Camping.” Irrespective of where the visitor clicks, he/she will get onto the backpack page. In this case, both navigation choices that get presented to visitors are apparent.
Even so, users often misperceive the expectations of website owners. Therefore, usability testing can come into play since it will help you monitor how website visitors find their way to specific pages. Likewise, usability testing will help you watch out for common trends, thus enabling you to make necessary changes to your website.
Of course, it isn’t sensible to start listing links haphazardly under multiple headings. If visitors always find it difficult to identify appropriate categories on your website, it probably means that your labels are incorrect or misleading.
To enhance website navigation and conversion rates without necessarily utilising valuable real estate, you should make your website’s navigation bar dynamic. Seek inspiration from cosmetics brand Frank Body, which has a highly-dynamic navigation bar.
When scrolling down the page, an “Add to Cart” button glides up before each product. The floating button allows you to adjust item quantity as you go through products listed on the website.
In recent months, Apple has also altered its website by incorporating discreet fixed headers into its product pages. These headers have inks to menus such as “Design,” Tech Specs,” “Performance,” and most significantly, “Buy.”
There’s great significance in reworking your website navigation if it has low conversion rates. If users find it easy to navigate your website, they are likely to spend more time browsing through your content.
Rather than abandoning website visitors in a maze, you should hand them a map that guides them on the direction that they sought to take. As difficult as this might be, it’s the easiest way of optimising your website for both PC and mobile users.
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