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Perhaps one of the biggest factors to keep visitors on your website is having a good, solid navigation system that supports all search preferences. In fact, more than three-quarters of survey respondents from a recent HubSpot study said that the most important element in website design is ease in finding information.

navigation chart

If people can’t find what they are looking for, they will give up and leave your website. Here are 6 important factors to keep in mind when designing your website's navigation.

6 Important Factors in Effective Website Navigation Design

1. Keep the structure of your primary navigation simple (and near the top of your page).
Include navigation in the footer of your site.

2. Use breadcrumbs on every page (except for the homepage) so people are aware of their navigation trail.

3. Include a search box near the top of your site so visitors can search by keywords.
Don’t offer too many navigation options on a page.

4. Don’t dig too deep – in most cases, it’s best to keep your navigation to no more than three levels deep.

5. Include links within your page copy, and make it clear where those links go to. This is also great for SEO!

6. Avoid use of complicated JavaScript – especially Flash – for your navigation. Many mobile phones can’t see Flash (yet); thus, they won’t be able to navigate your website. Same applies to web browsers that don’t have an updated version of Flash installed.

The overall rule with a proper navigation structure is simple: don’t require visitors to have to think about where they need to go and how to get there. Make it easy for them.

Is your website's navigation simple enough? In what ways could it be improved?


Originally published Oct 5, 2011 8:00:00 PM, updated October 20 2016


Website Design